UK imposes first sanctions against Chinese government officials for human rights abuses in Xinjiang

On March 22, 2021, the UK Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office announced the first sanctions filed by the UK against Chinese government officials, that target four senior officials and one entity in China for the mass detention, surveillance and torture of Uyghurs and other minorities in Xinjiang.  These sanctions are designed to complement actions taken by the EU, Canada and the US to demonstrate the international community’s condemnation of China’s oppressive and discriminatory practices in the Xinjiang region.

US Secretary of State, along with the Foreign Ministers of Canada and the UK issued a joint statement expressing their concerns for the overwhelming evidence of China’s ongoing human rights violations in Xinjiang, and calling for China to end its repressive practices against Uyghur Muslims and other minority groups, and release those that have been arbitrarily detained in the region.  The officials also called on China to grant members of the international community, including UN investigators, foreign diplomats and journalists, unhindered access to Xinjiang.

The UK sanctions are issued pursuant to Global Human Rights Sanctions Regulations 2020, imposing travel bans and asset freezes against the Public Security Bureau of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps;  Zhu Hailun, the Former Secretary of the Political and Legal Affairs Committee of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR);  Wang Junzheng, Deputy Secretary of the Party Committee of the XUAR;   Wang Mingshan, Secretary of the Political and Legal Affairs Committee of the XUAR;  and Chen Mingguo, Vice Chairman of the Government of the XUAR, and Director of the XUAR Public Security Department.

FCDO Press Release (sanctions) | OFSI Financial Sanctions Notice | FCDO Press Release (joint statement) | US State Department Joint Statement on Xinjiang

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