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U.S. announces visa restrictions on Chinese officials for Uighur abuses

Uighur detention camp
Photo: GREG BAKER/AFP/Getty Images

The State Department on Tuesday announced that it would impose visa restrictions on Chinese government officials who are believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, the mass detention and surveillance of Uighurs and other Muslim minority groups in Xinjiang province.

The big picture: China has detained an estimated 1 million to 2 million Uighur Muslims in the region of Xinjiang in "re-education camps" as part of a coordinated campaign of forced assimilation. The State Department's announcement follows a decision by the Commerce Department on Monday to blacklist 28 Chinese companies from doing business with the U.S. over the alleged abuses — moves that come just days before another round of highly anticipated trade talks in Washington.

In response to Monday's announcement, a Chinese Ministry of Commerce spokesperson said:

"We strongly urge the U.S. to immediately stop making irresponsible remarks on the issue of Xinjiang, stop interfering with the wrong actions of China’s internal affairs, and remove relevant Chinese entities from the list of entities as soon as possible."

Go deeper: The world shrugs as China locks up 1 million Muslims