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China hits out at US sanctions over alleged harassment of Uighur Muslims

CHINA has hit out at “gross interference” by the US as the House of Representatives passed a bill imposing targeted sanctions over alleged “arbitrary detention, torture and harassment” of Uighur Muslims.

The Uighur Human Rights Policy Act 2019 bill was passed by 407 to 1 in the House of Representatives on Tuesday night.

It needs to be approved by the Senate and President Donald Trump to pass into effect.

But Beijing has warned against the latest anti-China attack by the US as another attempt to interfere in the country’s domestic affairs. 

“This bill deliberately smears the human-rights condition in Xinjiang, slanders China’s efforts in deradicalisation and counter-terrorism, and viciously attacks the Chinese government’s Xinjiang policy,” a Foreign Ministry statement said.

Critics say the increased hostility is linked to the US trade war with China, which has seen the imposition of 15 per cent tariffs on about $112 billion (£85.53bn) of Chinese imports.

Last week the US passed a policy in support of violent opposition forces in Hong Kong.

The groups — backed by the National Endowment for Democracy — were joined this week by the Ukrainian neo-nazi Azov Battalion.

Washington continues to insist that one million Uighur Muslims have been rounded up and are detained in what they call “concentration camps” — a hotly disputed claim with no concrete evidence.

But China warns of a “propaganda war” led by the US to use human rights as a tool to interfere in the country’s domestic affairs.

Reporting on the sanctions yesterday, the BBC quoted the World Uighur Congress (WUC) approvingly, referring to it as a “human-rights group.”

But the WUC, which is also funded by the NED, is accused of links to the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (Etim), a jihadist terror group committed to creating an independent state called “East Turkestan” in Xinjiang province.

Etim has carried out a series of terror attacks in China and sent jihadist fighters known as the Turkestan Brigade to Syria as terror groups vowed to establish a regional Islamist caliphate.

China said its policy in Xinjiang province was aimed at “fighting violence, terrorism and separatism” saying its efforts had meant there had not been a terrorist attack in the region for three years.

It has received praise from many in the international community for its anti-terrorism policies that have been described as a “successful case study.”

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