In a major setback to China, the US House of Representatives on Tuesday passed a bill against Beijing’s atrocities against the Uighur Muslims in its Xinjiang province.
The House approved the bill with an overwhelming majority with 407 members voting in favour of it while just one member opposing it. The Uighur Act of 2019 is a stronger version of a bill that was passed in the Senate in September. The revised bill will be sent to Trump for approval. The US President will either sign the bill or veto it in the national interest.
The Uighur Act of 2019 asks the US president to condemn abuses against Uighur Muslims and calls for the closure of mass detention camps in the northwestern region of Xinjiang. It also calls for sanctions against senior Chinese officials who it says are responsible and specifically names Xinjiang Communist Party Secretary Chen Quanguo, who, as a politburo member, is in the upper echelons of China’s leadership.
The passage of the Uighur Bill assumes significance as it comes days after Trump angered Beijing by signing into law congressional legislation supporting anti-government protesters in Hong Kong.
Reacting sharply to the passage of the Uighur Actin the US House, China curtly said that a price must be paid, asserting it will come eventually.
“For all wrong actions and words… the proper price must be paid,” China’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said.
Without elaborating on what retaliatory measures China was planning, Hua said the “price that must be paid will come eventually.”