President Donald Trump signed legislation on Wednesday calling for sanctions against those responsible for the repression of Uighur Muslims in China’s Xinjiang province, the White House said in a statement.
The bill, which passed the US Congress nearly unanimously, was intended to send China a strong message on human rights by mandating sanctions against those responsible for the oppression of members of China’s Muslim minority.
The United Nations estimates that more than a million Muslims have been detained in camps in Xinjiang.
Trump issued a “signing statement” saying that some of the bill’s sanctions requirements might limit his constitutional authority as president to conduct diplomacy so he would regard them as advisory, not mandatory.
Trump did not hold a ceremony to mark his signing the bill into law, which came as US newspapers published excerpts from a new book by his former national security adviser, John Bolton.
Among other allegations in the book, Bolton said Trump spoke approvingly of Chinese President Xi Jinping explanation of “why he was basically building concentration camps” to intern Uighurs during a G20 meeting in Osaka in 2019 attended only by interpreters.
Bolton writes that the US interpreter said that Trump spoke approvingly of the camps. Bolton writes that he also was told by Matt Pottinger, a National Security Council official who is hawkish on China, that Trump had said something similar during a 2017 trip to China.
Reuters news agency