US President Donald Trump signed the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act 2020 to put an end to China’s mass internment camps for minority Muslim communities. China consistently denied any mistreatment of Uighurs and the Foreign Ministry has insisted there will be consequences if the US does not stop meddling in domestic matters.
In a statement China’s Foreign Ministry said: “We again urge the US side to immediately correct its mistakes and stop using this Xinjiang-related law to harm China’s interests and interfere in China’s internal affairs.
“Otherwise, China will resolutely take countermeasures, and all the consequences arising therefrom must be fully borne by the United States.”
Mr Trump put pen to paper on the bill on Wednesday and said the legislation “holds accountable perpetrators of human rights violations and abuses”.
The bill initially passed the US House of Representatives and the Senate with bipartisan support last month.
In a statement Mr Trump said: “The Act holds accountable perpetrators of human rights violations and abuses such as the systematic use of indoctrination camps, forced labour and intrusive surveillance to eradicate the ethnic identity and religious beliefs of Uyghurs and other minorities in China.”
Nury Turkel, a Uighur rights activist and member of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom welcomed the announcement.
He said: “It is a great day for American citizens as well as Uyghur and other Turkic people in China who have been subject to ghastly human rights abuses by the Communist Party of China.”
Tensions between Washington and Beijing soared over the controversial camps, following talks between Communist Party Politburo member Yang Jiechi and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian, said Mr Jiechi who is regarded as a key architect of Chinese foreign policy, and Mr Pompeo clashed over the new bill.
Mr Jiechi said China “strongly deplores” the legislation and accused the US of “double standards”.
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China insist the camps provide vocational training and are required to fight terrorism and extremism in Xinjiang.
Mr Jiechi said the security situation in the province “has been turned around and the rights to life, health and development of all ethnic groups there have been effectively safeguarded”.
Yang insisted this was achieved “thanks to the counter-terrorism and de-radicalisation measures taken by the Chinese government in accordance with law”.