Uyghur woman interned at a Chinese 'brainwashing' camp.

UK Sanctions on Chinese Officials for Xinjiang Abuses: A Welcome Step

REDRESS welcomed today the announcement by the UK government that it has designated for sanctions four senior Chinese officials and one entity for their roles in serious human rights abuses in Xinjiang, China.

The Chinese individuals and entity were sanctioned under the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018 (SAMLA) and the Global Human Rights Sanctions Regulations 2020. They are: Chen Mingguo, Wang Mingshan, Wang Zunzheng, Zhu Hailun, and the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps Public Security Bureau (XPCC PSB).

REDRESS submitted a dossier of evidence in November 2020 to the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), calling for UK sanctions designations for senior Chinese officials and entities linked to the grave violations in Xinjiang. The dossier contained extensive evidence from numerous credible authorities that have documented human rights violations against Uyghur and other minority populations in Xinjiang since late 2016. REDRESS’s submission was supported by more than 20 UK members of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China.

Last week, REDRESS again urged the UK Foreign Secretary to take action, noting that the UK risked falling behind its key international allies in responding to the crisis in Xinjiang.

Charlie Loudon, International Legal Adviser at REDRESS, said:

“The ongoing atrocities in Xinjiang are one of the world’s most urgent human rights crises, and the UK’s failure to date to impose sanctions was a notable omission. The legitimacy of the UK’s human rights sanctions programme relies on the government using it consistently, even in cases where there may be diplomatic repercussions. Today’s decision is a welcome sign it is willing to do so.”

By sanctioning the individuals and entities responsible for human rights violations in Xinjiang, the UK Government joins key allies, including the United States and the European Union, in taking meaningful action to deter and punish ongoing abuses against the Uyghur people and other minority groups. The European Union announced its own set of sanctions against senior Chinese officials and entities this afternoon.

 For more information or to request an interview, please contact: Eva Sanchis, REDRESS Head of Communications at [email protected] or +44 (0) 7857 110076.

Notes to editors:

  1. REDRESS is an NGO that pursues legal claims on behalf of survivors of torture in the UK and around the world to obtain justice and reparation for the violation of their human rights.
  2. The UK Global Human Rights Sanctions Regulations give the UK Foreign Secretary the power to impose sanctions on individuals and entities who are responsible for human rights violations, or who facilitate, incite, promote, or support such violations. The regulations allow the UK to designate for sanction individuals and entities that are linked in other ways to involved persons, such as being a member of, controlled by, or associated with such persons. Designated individuals and entities are subject to travel bans and asset freezes. For more information on the UK’s Global Human Rights Sanctions programme, see REDRESS’s Briefing Note.

Photo credit: Uyghur woman interned at a secret ‘indoctrination’ camp in the western Xinjiang region (Courtesy of the BBC).