US politicians pass legislation to sanction Chinese officials for Uighur crackdown

The US House of Representatives has overwhelmingly passed bipartisan legislation seeking to hold China accountable over alleged violations of human rights against Muslim minorities, including the Uighurs.

The bill already passed in the Senate in September with support from both major parties, sailing through unanimously.

After a process of reconciling the two bills between the chambers, the legislation will move to President Donald Trump's desk, and, if passed, is likely to anger Beijing.

Only one lawmaker voted against the proposal, meaning Congress can override a veto. The law is the latest anti-China legislation to pass in the US Congress, following recent bills supporting protesters in Hong Kong, which Trump signed after a veto-proof majority of lawmakers approved the measures.

Anti-government protests in Hong Kong have been ongoing.
Anti-government protests in Hong Kong have been ongoing. Photo credit: Getty

Beijing hit back by sanctioning US non-profits.

The law on the Uighurs, a predominantly Muslim minority in China's western Xinjiang region, would require that the State Department determine if certain Chinese officials should be subjected to sanctions for human rights violations.

Additionally, the federal government would have to identify which companies are involved in building internment camps, and offer support to journalists covering the unfolding events.

Human rights groups and the US government accused China of engaging in mass internment and surveillance of the Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in Xinjiang.

More than one million people have allegedly been detained for so-called re-education.

China says it is fighting extremism, separatism and terrorism and has warned of retaliation.

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