U.S. imposes visa restrictions on Chinese officials for human rights violations in Xinjiang

The U.S. government will block Chinese government and Communist Party officials connected to the human rights abuses in Xinjiang from entering the United States.

Photo of uniformed men on a Chinese street next to Pompeo quote on repression in Xinjiang (State Dept./S. Gemeny Wilkinson/Photo © Ng Han Guan/AP Images)
(State Dept./S. Gemeny Wilkinson)

The visa restrictions come in response to China’s ongoing persecution of Uighurs, ethnic Kazakhs and other Muslim ethnic minorities in Xinjiang, China. Since April 2017, Chinese authorities have imprisoned more than 1 million of these ethnic minorities in camps designed to erase ethno-religious identities. There are credible reports of deaths and forced labor, torture and degrading treatment in the camps.

“China has forcibly detained over one million Muslims in a brutal, systematic campaign to erase religion and culture in Xinjiang,” Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo said in a tweet. “China must end its draconian surveillance and repression, release all those arbitrarily detained, and cease its coercion of Chinese Muslims abroad.”

The visa restrictions apply to individuals and their family members.

“The protection of human rights is of fundamental importance, and all countries must respect their human rights obligations and commitments,” Pompeo said.