Foreign Policy Digital

The Mysterious Case of the Disappearing China Sanctions

Mass detention of Uighurs has been superseded by trade talks, say rights advocates.

Two human rights advocates who focus on China issues say they were told by U.S. officials last year that the Trump administration was preparing to impose sanctions on Beijing in December over its treatment of Uighur Muslims in the country’s western region of Xinjiang.

The advocates were given to understand that the sanctions would fall under the Global Magnitsky Act, which enables the U.S. government to place travel bans and asset freezes on human rights abusers.

But when International Human Rights Day came and went on Dec. 10—the day the United States customarily unveils a tranche of such sanctions each year—no announcement was made. The activists believe the administration squelched the plan in order to avoid harming trade talks with China.

“Discussions with government officials

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from Foreign Policy Digital

Foreign Policy Digital5 min readPolitics
Will Hong Kong Flare Up or Flame Out?
For the last several months, protesters in Hong Kong have staged increasingly frequent demonstrations over a controversial bill that would have allowed virtually anyone in Hong Kong facing criminal charges to be extradited to mainland China. Although
Foreign Policy Digital5 min readPolitics
The U.N. Helps Syria Bomb the Opposition
For months, as part of its deconfliction program for the Syrian war, the United Nations has been sharing the GPS coordinates of health care facilities in rebel-held territory with the Russian government. The aim was to ensure Russia and its Syrian al
Foreign Policy Digital2 min readPolitics
Our Top Weekend Reads
As Muslims around the world celebrated Eid al-Adha on Monday, India-administered Kashmir remained in a state of enforced calm, and mosques in Srinagar stayed shut. Meanwhile, Hong Kong’s grassroots protest movement persisted, testing Beijing’s resolv