It was in end of November that President Donald Trump signed off the bill empowering the Administration and President to make direct intervention in the democratic protests in Hong Kong. The US has now also passed a similar legislation - Uyghur Human Rights Policy Bill - for resisting the horrific cultural and racial extermination conducted by China against the Muslims of Xinjiang province. Once Trump signs off the bill, that also will come into force. Although White House spokesperson kept mum on the question whether the President will veto the bill, given the political equations with China now, chances of a veto appear remote.
The bill was first passed by the Republican-dominated Senate and later by the House of Representatives with 407 against one vote. The bill that authorises imposition of embargo on China and clamping travel restrictions on its leaders, also asks various departments of the US administration to prepare reports about human rights violations made by the Chinese government against the Uyghurs. Together with this, it entrusts FBI to gather data about the military strikes by China in Xinjiang province, detention camps and the torture there; it also contains proposals to counter China's media propaganda strategy. The Uyghur Human Rights Bill is one that meets the demands of human rights organisations for long, and help check the cultural racism perpetrated against Uyghur Muslims.
China has come out strongly against the bill immediately on its passage by the House. The bill is certainly a blow to China that had already lost its face through the bill regarding the Hong Kong protests. Chinese-US relations, that took a beating through the trade war between the two nations, has worsened further through this. Chinese government, as an initial retaliation, has barred entry of 30 passengers holding US diplomatic passport.
Beijing has also raised a threat to ban entry of US ships to the Gulf of China. In response, the US is in an effort to slap a travel ban on Communist party Politburo member and Xinjiang's Communist party secretary Chen Quanguo. If that happens, argues China's supreme official council, China should reciprocate it with an entry ban on US foreign secretary Mike Pompeo. As a first step to that, China has declared a travel ban on the voluntary organisations who declared support to the human rights efforts in Uyghur and to the democratic agitations in Hong.
US Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi claims that the US bill is a reflection of the world's conscience. However, US faces the strong reproach that Trump and the US, who have a long history of applying double standards in the matter of human rights, do not attach any political importance to the bill other than as an attempt to rein in China through international pressure. They say that what drove America to pass the bill is not an earnest desire to end the Chinese suppression of Uyghur's Muslims or its commitment to human rights, but a hidden motive to put pressure on China in trade talks.
For that very reason, China is of the view that its focus should be not on ending the suppression in Uyghur, but more on diplomatic and other pressures to force the US to its line. It has also decided to bring to light at international forums the human rights violations of America in its borders and in different parts of the world.
What has been going in the name of Uyghur's concentration camps - nicknamed re-education camps - is inhuman persecution including sexual abuses. It is an apalling story for the empathetic to hear when it comes to the pile of tragedy experienced by those who escape from those prisons. Provisions in the US bill may serve as a means for human rights groups to pave the way to a political solution of the racial extermination of 11 lakh Muslims. It may also be instrumental in raising international pressure and reducing persecution, at least temporarily. But going by the track record of the Trump administration and its pursuits, the Bill does not compel any one to believe that it will succeed in stopping the cultural genocide going on unabated in Xinjiang.