WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned two current Chinese government officials in connection with serious human rights abuses against ethnic minorities in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR). These designations include Wang Junzheng, the Secretary of the Party Committee of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC), and Chen Mingguo, Director of the Xinjiang Public Security Bureau (XPSB). These individuals are designated pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13818, which builds upon and implements the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act and targets perpetrators of serious human rights abuse and corruption. The United States is committed to using the full breadth of its financial powers to promote accountability for the serious human rights abuses occurring in Xinjiang.
“Chinese authorities will continue to face consequences as long as atrocities occur in Xinjiang,” said Director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control Andrea M. Gacki. “Treasury is committed to promoting accountability for the Chinese government’s human rights abuses, including arbitrary detention and torture, against Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities.”
Today’s Treasury actions complement actions also taken today by the European Union, the United Kingdom, and Canada, which imposed sanctions on these individuals and others. The United States will continue to play a strong leadership role in global efforts to combat serious human rights abuse in Xinjiang and around the world through the Global Magnitsky sanctions program. Complementary actions using these global human rights sanctions regimes enable likeminded partners to form a unified front to identify, promote accountability for, and disrupt access to the international financial system by those who abuse human rights.
SERIOUS HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSE IN XINJIANG
Due to their roles in the XPCC and XPSB, respectively, Wang Junzheng (Wang) and Chen Mingguo (Chen) are connected to serious human rights abuses against ethnic minorities in Xinjiang, which reportedly includes arbitrary detention and severe physical abuse, among other serious human rights abuses targeting Uyghurs, a Turkic Muslim population indigenous to Xinjiang, and other ethnic minorities in the region.
The XPCC is a paramilitary organization in the XUAR that is subordinate to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and was designated on July 31, 2020 for its connection to serious human rights abuse. The XPCC enhances internal control over the region by advancing China’s vision of economic development in XUAR that emphasizes subordination to central planning and resource extraction.
These designations are the latest U.S. government actions in an ongoing effort to deter the ongoing serious human rights abuses in Xinjiang and promote accountability for Chinese individuals and entities that perpetuate a campaign of repression against ethnic minorities. The XPSB was designated on July 9, 2020 for being a foreign person responsible for, or complicit in, or that has directly or indirectly engaged in, serious human rights abuse. Since at least late 2016, repressive tactics have been used by the XPSB against the Uyghurs and members of other ethnic minorities in the region, including mass detentions and surveillance. China’s surveillance has targeted members of religious and ethnic minorities, as the Chinese government treats almost all expressions of faith as a sign of religious “extremism” or ethnic separatism. Targets of this surveillance are often detained and reportedly subjected to various methods of torture and “political reeducation.”
Wang is designated pursuant to E.O. 13818 for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, the XPCC.
Chen is designated pursuant to E.O. 13818 for being a foreign person who is or has been a leader or official of the XPSB, an entity, including a government entity, that has engaged in, or whose members have engaged in, serious human rights abuse relating to Chen’s tenure.
As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of the persons above that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons are blocked and must be reported to OFAC. In addition, any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more by one or more blocked persons are also blocked. Unless authorized by a general or specific license issued by OFAC, or otherwise exempt, OFAC’s regulations generally prohibit all transactions by U.S. persons or within (or transiting) the United States that involve any property or interests in property of designated or otherwise blocked persons. The prohibitions include the making of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of any blocked person or the receipt of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services from any such person.
Building upon the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, E.O. 13818 was issued on December 20, 2017, in recognition that the prevalence of human rights abuse and corruption that have their source, in whole or in substantial part, outside the United States, had reached such scope and gravity as to threaten the stability of international political and economic systems. Human rights abuse and corruption undermine the values that form an essential foundation of stable, secure, and functioning societies; have devastating impacts on individuals; weaken democratic institutions; degrade the rule of law; perpetuate violent conflicts; facilitate the activities of dangerous persons; and undermine economic markets. The United States seeks to impose tangible and significant consequences on those who commit serious human rights abuse or engage in corruption, as well as to protect the financial system of the United States from abuse by these same persons.