Dec 3, 2019 - World

House passes sanctions bill on China for mass detention of Uighur Muslims

In this illustration, a Muslim man bows to pray while the Chinese flag stands behind him.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The House overwhelmingly passed a bill on Tuesday that would push for sanctions against China over its mass detention of Uighur Muslims. The bill would also restrict U.S. technology and AI exports to China that could be used to facilitate detentions.

Driving the news: President Trump signed a bill to reaffirm U.S. support for Hong Kong's autonomy last week in the face of massive pro-democracy protests. In the midst of critical trade talks, China warned that it would take retaliatory measures over the Hong Kong bill if it became law.

What's next: The Uighur Act, which has bipartisan support, will head to the Senate for a vote before likely reaching Trump's desk.

What they're saying: The Chinese Foreign Ministry responded to the bill by saying that the issue in Xinjiang, the northwest region in which 1 million Uighurs, Kazakhs and other predominately Muslim minorities are believed to be detained, is "China’s internal affair," and it "urged the U.S. to correct its mistakes and stop the bill from becoming law," Reuters reports.

Background: The State Department imposed visa restrictions in October on Chinese government officials believed to be complicit in or responsible for the mass detention and surveillance of as many as 1 million Chinese Uighurs and other Muslim minority groups.

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