Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Photo: Xinhua/Liu Jie via Getty Images

The Treasury Department announced Thursday that the U.S. has sanctioned four Chinese Communist Party officials and the Xinjiang Public Security Bureau for human rights abuses against Uighur Muslims and other ethnic minorities in Xinjiang.

Why it matters: The sanctions designations, pursuant to the Global Magnitsky Act passed by Congress in 2016, mark a significant escalation in the Trump administration's response to the Chinese government's detainment of over 1 million Uighurs in internment camps.

  • Rights groups and U.S. officials have long called for Global Magnitsky Act sanctions on Chinese officials responsible for the repression in Xinjiang, but the administration repeatedly chose to prioritize trade negotiations over punishing China for policies now widely recognized to be a form of genocide.
  • “This is the highest level sanction that’s ever been designated in China," said a senior administration official in a press call. "We’re upholding the intent of American law, as well as executive orders that President Trump has signed. And we’re standing up for values that go back to the founding of our own republic."

The officials sanctioned by Treasury include:

  • Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region's CCP secretary Chen Quanguo
  • Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region's former deputy CCP secretary Zhu Hailun
  • Xinjiang Public Security Bureau director and CCP secretary Wang Mingshan
  • Xinjiang Public Security Bureau former CCP secretary Huo Liujun

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also announced he would impose visa restrictions on Chen Quanguo, Zhu Hailun and Wang Mingshan that would ban them and their immediate family members from entering the U.S.

Context: Chen Quanguo is a member of the Politburo, the CCP body that decides policy for the entire country.

  • Zhu Hailun was the party secretary of the Xinjiang Political and Legal Affairs Committee, the Chinese Communist Party body tasked with building and running the concentration camps. Classified documents detailing his role in the camps were leaked to the International Consortium of Investigative journalists last year.
  • The Xinjiang Public Security Bureau has contracted with numerous major Chinese companies to build the camps and the mass surveillance regime now blanketing Xinjiang. Some of those companies include HikVision and SenseTime, which have already been included on a U.S. export blacklist.
  • BGI, one of the largest genomics companies in the world, has also worked closely with Xinjiang public security officials on genetic forensics.

What they're saying:

  • Treasury Secretary Mnuchin: '"The United States is committed to using the full breadth of its financial powers to hold human rights abusers accountable in Xinjiang and across the world."
  • Pompeo: "The United States will not stand idly by as the CCP carries out human rights abuses targeted Uyghurs, ethnic Kazakhs, and members of other minority groups in Xinjiang, to include forced labor, arbitrary mass detention, and forced population control, and attempts to erase their culture and Muslim faith."

Go deeper: China is engaged in campaign of forced birth control against Uighurs

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to remove Megvii from the list of companies known to have contracted with the Xinjiang Public Security Bureau.

Go deeper

Oct 20, 2020 - World

China embraces hostage diplomacy

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Chinese government is threatening to detain foreign citizens unless their home governments do what Beijing demands. In some cases, China has already made good on those threats.

The big picture: This marks a potential evolution of China's "wolf warrior diplomacy" to outright rogue state behavior, putting it in the company of countries like North Korea and Iran, which have also engaged in hostage diplomacy.

3 mins ago - Technology

States court tech money even as they bash companies

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Some of the country's fastest-growing states are publicly attacking the tech industry's business practices on one hand while courting its investment on the other.

Why it matters: Attracting technology companies is a holy grail for economic development because they bring high-paying jobs and prestige to aspiring tech hubs. But that project is now colliding with some state leaders' efforts to rein in tech companies' growing power.

Minnesota governor denounces alleged police violence against media

Law enforcement officers pepper spray freelance photographer Tim Evans (L) as he identifies himself a working journalist outside the Brooklyn Center police station on Friday. Photo: Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images

Gov. Tim Walz (D) spoke out Sunday over allegations that journalists covering unrest in the Twin Cities suburb of Brooklyn Center have endured police violence, telling CBS Minnesota: "Apologies are not enough, it just cannot happen."

Why it matters: Since violations of press freedoms came to national attention last year, with reports of journalists being arrested and assaulted while covering anti-racism protests, violent encounters with law enforcement seem to have become the norm.