Update: China wasted no time to issue a harshly worded response to the passage of the Uighur bill, and in a statement published moments ago by the Chinese foreign ministry, said that whereas "the US plan to use the Xinjiang-related issue to sow Chinese ethnic relations, undermine Xinjiang's prosperity and stability, and curb China's development", this is "absolutely impossible" and Beijing urges the US to "immediately correct its mistakes, prevent the aforementioned Xinjiang-related bill from becoming law, and stop using the Xinjiang-related issue to interfere in China's internal affairs."
The statement ends ominously, saying that "China will respond further according to the development of the situation."
In other words, even more words, and no actions, suggesting that at this point, Xi may have capitulated and is scared of actually doing something instead of just speaking.
Full statement below from the foreign ministry:
Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying's Remarks on the U.S. House of Representatives Passing the "Uyghur Human Rights Policy Bill 2019"
The U.S. House of Representatives has just passed the so-called "Uyghur Human Rights Policy Bill 2019." The case deliberately discredited the human rights situation in Xinjiang, arrogantly discredited China's efforts to radicalize and combat terrorism, maliciously attacked the Chinese government's territorial policies, seriously violated international law and basic principles of international relations, and seriously interfered in China's internal affairs. China expresses its strong indignation and resolute opposition.
Xinjiang-related issues are not at all human rights, ethnic, and religious issues, but anti-terrorist and anti-secession issues. Xinjiang has suffered from extremist and violent terrorist activities. Facing the grim situation, the Xinjiang Autonomous Region Government has cracked down on violent terrorist activities in accordance with the law, and at the same time attaches great importance to source governance, including actively promoting depolarization, and continuously promoting economic development, national unity, and social harmony and stability. These measures have ensured that no terrorist attacks have occurred in Xinjiang in the past three years, received universal support from 25 million people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang, and made positive contributions to the global cause of counter-terrorism.
The international community has generally positively evaluated the Chinese government's policy of governing Xinjiang. Since the end of 2018, more than a thousand people from more than 70 national and regional officials, international organizations, news media, religious groups, experts and scholars have visited Xinjiang, and they have praised Xinjiang's experience in counter-terrorism and depolarization work. In March this year, the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Islamic Cooperation Organization passed a resolution praising China's efforts in caring for the Muslim masses. In July, the permanent representatives of more than 50 countries in Geneva sent a joint letter to the chairman of the United Nations Human Rights Council and the High Commissioner for Human Rights to positively evaluate China's respect and protection of human rights in its counter-terrorism and depolarization efforts. In October, more than 60 countries spoke enthusiastically during the 74th Session of the Third Committee of the General Assembly, praising China's huge human rights progress in Xinjiang. All these strongly prove that the US side's article on Xinjiang-related issues is totally contrary to the facts and completely contrary to the mainstream public opinion in the international community.
We must tell the US side that Xinjiang affairs are purely China's internal affairs and that no foreign interference is allowed. The above-mentioned bill on the US side deliberately smears China's counter-terrorism and de-extremization measures, which will only further expose its double standards on counter-terrorism, and will only let the Chinese people further understand its hypocrisy and sinister intentions.
The Chinese government and people are unwavering in their determination to safeguard national sovereignty, security, and development interests. The US plan to use the Xinjiang-related issue to sow Chinese ethnic relations, undermine Xinjiang's prosperity and stability, and curb China's development is absolutely impossible. We urge the US to immediately correct its mistakes, prevent the aforementioned Xinjiang-related bill from becoming law, and stop using the Xinjiang-related issue to interfere in China's internal affairs. China will respond further according to the development of the situation.
* * *
In the past few days, China's Global Times twitter troll Hu Xijin has been quite vocal not only about China's anger over the recent passage of the pro-HK bill that was signed by Trump last Thursday, but also about China's response to what he said was the imminent passage of a Xinjian-related bill, which would sanction Chinese officials responsible for the repression of over a million Muslim Uighurs in the Xinjiang region.
Overnight, Hu issued his latest not so veiled threat on the matter saying that "since US Congress plans to pass Xinjiang-related bill, China is considering to impose visa restrictions on US officials and lawmakers who've had odious performance on Xinjiang issue;it might also ban all US diplomatic passport holders from entering Xinjiang."
Based on what I know, since US Congress plans to pass Xinjiang-related bill, China is considering to impose visa restrictions on US officials and lawmakers who've had odious performance on Xinjiang issue;it might also ban all US diplomatic passport holders from entering Xinjiang.— Hu Xijin 胡锡进 (@HuXijin_GT) December 3, 2019
Yesterday, Hu retweeted a post by The Business Source division of the Global Times, which warned that China would release an "unreliable entity list" soon, which includes relevant US entities, in response to the passage of the Xinjiang-related bill "that will harm Chinese firms’ interests, prompting China to speed up the move."
Source told Global Times that China will release an "unreliable entity list" soon, which includes relevant US entities. US House is expected to pass a Xinjiang-related bill that will harm Chinese firms’ interests, prompting China to speed up the move.— The Business Source (@GlobalTimesBiz) December 2, 2019
His comments came just days after one or more Chinese dissidents leaked the troubling secrets of China's Xinjiang camps to the foreign media, which prompted the following retort from Hu: "China wants real human rights in Xinjiang: people’s rights to have a peaceful life. West’s hypocrisy won’t affect Xinjiang internally, nor will it influence Muslim countries’ attitude. It’s just a few media outlets and politicians pretending to be representing the world.Pathetic."
China wants real human rights in Xinjiang: people’s rights to have a peaceful life. West’s hypocrisy won’t affect Xinjiang internally, nor will it influence Muslim countries’ attitude. It’s just a few media outlets and politicians pretending to be representing the world.Pathetic. https://t.co/zMKlMVttEz— Hu Xijin 胡锡进 (@HuXijin_GT) November 25, 2019
Well, moments ago the U.S. House of Representatives indeed overwhelmingly approved legislation that would impose sanctions on Chinese officials over human rights abuses against Muslim minorities, provoking Beijing to retaliate just as trade deal negotiations between the two sides appear to be on the verge of collapse.
The bill is an amended version of the Senate’s S. 178 to support the Uighurs, a Muslim ethnic group in western China, and it passed Tuesday, on a vote of 407 to 1. Chinese state media warned before the vote that the government could release a list of “unreliable entities” that could lead to sanctions against U.S. companies. The measure follows legislation supporting Hong Kong protesters signed into law last week by President Donald Trump.
And now, with Xi Jinping having already lost serious credibility after he failed to forcefully respond to Trump's signing of the Hong Kong bill, all eyes will be on China, and whether it will indeed trigger visa restrictions and limit travel for US officials to Xinjiang province (something which will never happen) and, more importantly, if Beijing will finally publish its "unreliable entity", aka black list, which it has been threatening to do since May and which may include such names as Apple and Micron. Well, now that the House has passed the Uighur bill, Beijing may no longer be able to delay, or else it will be seen as a pushover every time a diplomatic - or other - challenge escalates. Needless to say, for a president for life such as Xi Jinping, that is hardly an option, so stay tuned for China's response which may be due any moment.