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US lawmakers: Uyghur bill 'a firm step' to defend China's Muslims

Thousands take part in a 'silent scream' demonstration against China’s persecution of Uighurs in Xinjiang, at Fatih Mosque on December 20, 2019 in Istanbul, Turkey [İslam Yakut / Anadolu Agency]
Thousands take part in a 'silent scream' demonstration against China’s persecution of Uyghurs in Xinjiang, at Fatih Mosque on 20 December 2019 in Istanbul, Turkey [İslam Yakut/Anadolu Agency]

US lawmakers yesterday said legislation targeting China over the brutal treatment of the country's Uyghur Muslim minority sent a clear message of support from Washington and the White House to the Uyghurs, pushing Beijing on human rights, Reuters reported.

"With this overwhelming bipartisan legislation, the United States Congress is taking a firm step to counter Beijing's horrific human rights abuses against the Uyghurs," Speaker Nancy Pelosi said.

"If America does not speak out against human rights [violations] in China because of some commercial interest, then we lose all moral authority to speak out on human rights violations any place in the world," Pelosi added.

Last week, the United States House of Representatives passed legislation calling for sanctions against officials in China responsible for human rights abuses in the country's western region of Xinjiang.

It now awaits President Donald Trump's approval or veto.

Trump can veto the legislation. But Congress could easily override his veto.

According to the United Nations, last year, China sent more than one million Uyghurs to what it calls "re-education camps" in the Xinjiang region as part of its fight against terror. Detainees describe horrific abuse inside the camps, including rape and sterilisation. Images of those released from the detention show them unable to speak, walk or recognise their family members.

READ: US Congress bill slams China's Uyghur crackdown

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