(TibetanReview.net, Mar22’22) – While no names have been mentioned and it is not clear how many would be affected, the US State Department has on Mar 21 announced a decision to ban US entry to officials of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) who may be involved in repressive acts against members of ethnic and religious minority groups and religious and spiritual practitioners inside and outside its borders. This is in addition to the existing bans imposed previously under both the Donald Trump and the current administrations.
“The United States rejects efforts by PRC officials to harass, intimidate, surveil, and abduct members of ethnic and religious minority groups, including those who seek safety abroad, and US citizens, who speak out on behalf of these vulnerable populations. We are committed to defending human rights around the world and will continue to use all diplomatic and economic measures to promote accountability,” said Secretary of State Antony J Blinken in a statement.
The statement said the sanctions were being applied to Chinese officials who “are believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, policies or actions aimed at repressing religious and spiritual practitioners, members of ethnic minority groups, dissidents, human rights defenders, journalists, labor organizers, civil society organizers, and peaceful protestors in China and beyond”.
The move adds to visa restrictions originally imposed by the administration of former US President Donald Trump over China’s treatment of Uighur Muslims in the western region of Xinjiang, as well as repression of pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong and advocates for freedoms in Tibet, noted the aljazeera.com Mar 21.
Reaffirming US support for those who bravely speak out despite the threat of retaliation, the statement further said, “We call on the PRC government to end its ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang, repressive policies in Tibet, crackdown on fundamental freedoms in Hong Kong, and human rights violations and abuses, including violations of religious freedom, elsewhere in the country.”
The State Department sanctions came just days after President Joe Biden spoke with Chinese President Xi Jinping amid rising US-China tensions over the ongoing war in Ukraine.
It also came after the US Justice Department announced last week charges against five men accused of acting on behalf of the Chinese government in a series of brazen and wide-ranging schemes to stalk and harass Chinese dissidents in the country.
The criminal cases, filed in federal court in Brooklyn, alleged longstanding efforts to dig up dirt on dissidents, intimidate them, and stifle their speech.
Before that, in 2020, prosecutors charged eight people with working on behalf of the Chinese government in a pressure campaign aimed at coercing a New Jersey man who was wanted by Beijing into returning to China to face charges, the report noted.
Also awaiting trial for several criminal counts is Baimadajie Angwang, a 33-year-old community affairs officer of the New York Police Department, charged in Sep 2020 after being caught reporting to officials with the PRC Consulate on the local Tibetan Community and its members. The criminal complaint said Awangwang referred to himself as an “asset” of the People’s Republic of China, reported the abc7ny.com Feb 13, 2021.