WASHINGTON -- The United States announced Tuesday it will restrict visas to Chinese officials over human rights violations against Muslim minorities in Xinjiang province.
The move comes a day after the blacklisting of 28 Chinese governmental and commercial organizations on similar grounds.
Later this week, U.S. and Chinese trade delegations are due to meet for key talks to break impasses in the tit-for-tat tariff escalations, but expectations have increasingly been dimmed, as sources of tensions between the two economies mount.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo listed a range of alleged abuses, including "mass detentions in internment camps ... (and) draconian controls on expressions of cultural and religious identities." He also noted pervasive surveillance using advanced technologies.
More than 1 million members of Muslim minority groups, including Uighurs, Kazakhs and other ethnicities, have been placed in interment camps, according to human rights groups and US officials.
Pompeo called on China "to immediately end its campaign of repression in Xinjiang."
The State Department did not immediately list which Chinese officials would face problems entering the United States.
The visa restrictions come a day after the Department of Commerce added the 28 firms to a list of entities posing a risk to national security or foreign policy interests.
China expressed dissatisfaction with the U.S. move, saying it was designed to interfere with Xinjiang's "counter-terrorism efforts" and obstruct the country's development.
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