By Michael Hernandez
WASHINGTON (AA) – The US on Friday blacklisted a current and a former Chinese government official, and a paramilitary organization accused of being instrumental in Beijing's crackdown on Turkic-Muslim Uighurs in Xinjiang.
The designations include the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC), Sun Jinlong, a former XPCC operative, and Peng Jiarui, a Chinese government official and XPCC commander, according to the Treasury Department.
“As previously stated, 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,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.
The XPCC is a Chinese government paramilitary unit that operates in Xinjiang that "enhances internal control over the region by advancing China’s vision of economic development in XUAR that emphasizes subordination to central planning and resource extraction," the Treasury said using an acronym that refers to the northwestern autonomous region of Xinjiang.
The Xinjiang region is home to around 10 million Uighurs. The Turkic Muslim group, which makes up around 45% of Xinjiang’s population, has long accused China's authorities of cultural, religious and economic discrimination.
Up to 1 million people, or about 7% of the Muslim population in Xinjiang, have been incarcerated in an expanding network of "political re-education" camps, according to US officials and UN experts.