The Trump administration is slapping visa bans on Chinese officials linked to the mass detention of Muslims, the latest in an escalating series of US steps to pressure Beijing over what Secretary of State Michael Pompeo has called “the stain of the century.”
Pompeo is imposing the restrictions on government leaders and Communist Party officials who are found responsible for or complicit in the detention and abuse of Uighurs, ethnic Kazakhs and other minority Muslim groups in the far western region of Xinjiang, according to the State Department. Travel by those officials’ family members will also be
While such officials rarely travel abroad, making the move more symbolic than punitive, the news rattled investors already on edge over signs tensions between the two countries are rising ahead of the trade talks. The S&P 500 tumbled from session highs to trade lower by almost 1%.
“The Chinese government has instituted a highly repressive campaign against Uighurs, ethnic Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, and other members of Muslim minority groups,” Pompeo said.
The move is authorised under the Immigration and Nationality Act, which lets the secretary of state deny travel visas to people whose entry he determines “would have potentially serious adverse foreign policy conseqences for US.”