Washington, DC – The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) today applauded the U.S. Department of Treasury’s designations under the Global Magnitsky Act and the Department of State’s imposition of visa restrictions on senior Chinese officials responsible for egregious religious freedom violations against Uyghur and other Muslims in Xinjiang.
“For years, USCIRF has called on the administration to impose targeted sanctions against Chen Quanguo, Zhu Hailun, and other senior officials responsible for the Communist Party’s genocidal policies against the Uyghur people.” USCIRF Commissioner Nury Turkel stated. “Today’s announcements represent a major victory for religious freedom and an important step toward holding Communist China accountable for its crimes against humanity.”
Since 2017, the Chinese government has detained millions of Uyghur, Kazakh, and other Muslims, often targeting individuals engaged in religious practices, such as growing beards or wearing veils. Last week, reports emerged that Chinese authorities had engaged in forced sterilizations and other repressive population control measures against Uyghurs, which USCIRF warned could meet the definition of genocide under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.
On July 9, the Treasury Department added the following to the Global Magnitsky Designations List: Chen Quanguo, Communist Party Secretary for Xinjiang; Zhu Hailun, former Political and Legal Affairs Commission Chief; Wang Mingshan, director of the Xinjiang Public Security Bureau; Huo Liujun former deputy party secretary; and the Xinjiang Public Security Bureau. The State Department visa restrictions bar Chen, Zhu, and Wang, as well as their family members, from entry into the United States. These measures follow the enactment of the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act, which directs the administration to impose financial sanctions and visa bans against Chinese government officials responsible for the persecution of Uyghur and other Muslims.
“The Trump administration’s actions today demonstrates that the United States is prepared to take concrete steps to protect Uyghurs and other religious groups in Communist China,” noted USCIRF Commissioner Gary Bauer. “We urge the administration to keep up the pressure by refusing to send U.S. officials to the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing unless the Communist Chinese government ceases its war on faith.”
In its 2020 Annual Report, USCIRF called for targeted sanctions against Chen and other Chinese officials. In February 2020, USCIRF released a factsheet explaining how the new Administrative Measures for Religious Groups could further restrict religious freedom.
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) is an independent, bipartisan federal government entity established by the U.S. Congress to monitor, analyze, and report on threats to religious freedom abroad. USCIRF makes foreign policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State, and Congress intended to deter religious persecution and promote freedom of religion and belief. To interview a Commissioner, please contact USCIRF at firstname.lastname@example.org or Danielle Ashbahian at email@example.com.