Washington: The U.S. government announced financial sanctions and other restrictions Friday on 15 people and 10 entities in China, Myanmar, North Korea and Bangladesh to coincide with International Human Rights Day.
The actions announced by the Treasury Department also included investment restrictions on a Chinese company connected to the mass government surveillance operations in China. The sanctions are intended to freeze the targeted people and entities out of the global financial system.
On International Human Rights Day, Treasury is using its tools to expose and hold accountable perpetrators of serious human rights abuse, Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo said in announcing the measures.
The measures include a ban on travel to the U.S. for two Chinese government officials who have been involved with the repression of Uyghurs and other minorities in the far western Xinjiang region of their country.
Shohrat Zakir, the chairman of the region from 2018-2021, and Erken Tuniyaz, who holds the position now and was previously vice chairman, presided over a repressive campaign of forced assimilation that has imprisoned more than 1 million people under brutal conditions and forced labor.
Treasury imposed investment restrictions on Chinese firm SenseTime Group Ltd., which is involved with the development of facial recognition programs that can determine a person’s ethnicity and has been used as part of the surveillance campaign against Uyghurs and other predominantly Muslim minorities.
This latest batch of sanctions also includes actions on officials in Bangladesh who are involved with the country’s anti-drug Rapid Action Battalion, a task force founded in 2004 that has been implicated in more than 600 disappearances and nearly 600 extrajudicial killings, with evidence suggesting they have targeted opposition party members, journalists and human rights activists, Treasury said.
The sanctions also include measures against officials and entities in Russia and North Korea who participate in the use of North Korean workers overseas, often in abusive conditions, to generate hard currency for the repressive government.
Actions against four officials in Myanmar and several entities are the latest in a series of U.S. sanctions since the military overthrew the democratically elected government on Feb. 1, followed by a violent crackdown on opposition in the months since.
The situation in Myanmar is among the issues Secretary of State Antony Blinken is expected to address next week when he meets with officials in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.
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