CHINA has been accused of a massive brainwashing campaign to get one million of its detained ethnic Muslim Uighurs to renounce their faith.
Now, US senators are calling for sanctions to be imposed on those involved.
Saying the country has turned into a “high-tech” police state, a bipartisan group of senators comprising nine Republicans, seven Democrats and one Independent, called for sanctions under the Global Magnitsky Act against senior Chinese government and Communist Party officials overseeing the policies on the Xinjiang region.
According to Reuters, the group, led by Senator Marco Rubio and Representative Chris Smith, Republican co-chairs of the bipartisan Congressional Executive Commission on China, made the call in a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
In their letter, the lawmakers said Muslims in the Chinese western autonomous region were “being subjected to arbitrary detention, torture, egregious restrictions on religious practice and culture, and a digitized surveillance system so pervasive that every aspect of daily life is monitored.”
“The Chinese government is creating a high-tech police state in (Xinjiang) that is both a gross violation of privacy and international human rights,” the letter said.
Originally designed to target Russian Rights violators, the Magnitsky Act is used for sanctions for abuses anywhere in the world.
The United Nations estimates one million Muslim Uighurs are being held in internment camps to undergo an indoctrination process that lasts several months.
Apart from being forced to renounce Islam, the detainees are being told to criticise their Islamic beliefs and recite Communist Party propaganda songs. Some media reports have said inmates were forced to eat pork and drink alcohol, which goes against Islamic beliefs.
The authorities handling these internment camps are also accused of the torture and murder of detainees. However, the Chinese government insists that the camps were “vocational centres” for criminals.
The Chinese government has imposed tighter security measures in recent years owing to the deaths of hundreds in Xinjiang who were killed as violence flared in the region.
The US lawmakers said the Chinese authorities who put the Muslims in “political re-education” centres or camps, required “a tough, targeted, and global response.”
“No Chinese official or business complicit in what is happening … should profit from access to the United States or the US financial system,” the letter said.
Other observers have criticised security and surveillance steps in Xinjiang have created near martial law conditions, with the setting up of police checkpoints, re-education centres and mass DNA collection.