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US lawmakers urge sanctioning China officials over crackdown

BEIJING — A group of U.S. lawmakers are calling on their government to impose sanctions including asset freezes and visa bans on Chinese officials and companies tied to alleged massive human rights abuses in the predominantly Muslim northwestern region of Xinjiang (SHIN’-jhang).

A letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin provided Wednesday urges the government to apply sanctions to address the “ongoing human rights crisis” in the region.

It singles out Xinjiang’s top official, Chen Quanguo, accused by many of turning the region into a police surveillance state and implementing a system of internment camps where members of the Uighur (‘WEE-gur) and other Muslim minorities are locked up for months and forced to renounce their culture and religion.

China denies the existence of the internment camps.