Trump signs law allowing sanctions against China over Uighur labor camps

On Wednesday, President Donald Trump formally put in place a legal mechanism to sanction China for crimes against humanity.

The president signed into law a bill targeting China’s Uighur concentration camps, provoking anger and promises of payback from the communist regime, according to The Washington Post.

Trump targets Beijing

The Uighur Human Rights Policy Act of 2020 calls on the Trump administration to identify and potentially sanction Chinese officials responsible for keeping hundreds of thousands of Uighurs — and other Muslim minorities — in detention centers in the country’s western province of Xinjiang.

The Trump administration has accused China of torturing the Uighurs and seeking to erase their culture and identity, as Reuters reports.

As Trump signed the law Wednesday, a statement from the White House pointedly faulted China for trying to “eradicate the ethnic identity and religious beliefs of Uyghurs and other minorities” while affirming that Trump would not treat as binding a part of the law that limits his authority to remove sanctions, according to The Hill.

Trump’s move angered China, which claims that the camps are actually part of the nation’s anti-terrorism efforts, according to Reuters.

“We again urge the U.S. side to immediately correct its mistakes and stop using this Xinjiang-related law to harm China’s interests and interfere in China’s internal affairs,” China’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement. “Otherwise, China will resolutely take countermeasures, and all the consequences arising therefrom must be fully borne by the United States.”

Holding China accountable

The bill, which was authored by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), passed both houses of Congress with bipartisan support, according to The Hill.

Trump’s signing came the same day that excerpts from John Bolton’s upcoming book claimed that Trump approved of the concentration camps and sought China’s help with his re-election campaign, accusations Democrats are using to paint Trump as weak on China. Trump told the Wall Street Journal that the insinuations were clearly false in light of the bill’s signing.

The Trump administration has accused China of a broad spectrum of manipulative and unilateral behavior, from Trump’s longtime accusations of exploitative trade policy to its cover-up of the coronavirus outbreak, which underscored fears about China’s rise and the threat of a new “cold war” between America and its Eastern rival.

According to his spokesperson, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who met with his Chinese counterpart on Thursday, called for China to engage in “fully-reciprocal dealings” and provide “full transparency and information sharing to combat the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and prevent future outbreaks,” Reuters reported.

It is long past time for China to be held accountable — good on President Trump.

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