Muslim people protesting against China's treatment of Uighurs Photograph:( Reuters )
The bill was passed unanimously with a roll call and will now be presented before the House of Representatives dominated by the Democrats
US Senate on Thursday passed a bill calling for sanctions against those responsible for the repression of Uighurs and other Muslim groups in China.
The bill introduced by Republican Senator Marco Rubio urged US President Trump to lead a tougher crackdown on China for its treatment of Uighurs in the Xinjiang region. China has consistently denied it mistreats Uighurs in its territory.
The Senate's move comes as relations between the United States and China have deteriorated amid the coronavirus pandemic with the Trump administration blaming China for not taking early steps to combat the virus even as President Trump on Thursday threatened to "cut off" all ties with China while asserting that he does not want to talk to President Xi.
The bill was passed unanimously with a roll call and will now be presented before the House of Representatives dominated by the Democrats, once approved it will be put before President Trump to sign into law.
The US House of Representatives had earlier passed a bill demanding sanctions on senior Chinese officials and export bans over its crackdown on Uighurs.
The Uighur Act of 2019 called on President Trump to impose sanctions on China's powerful politburo including sacntions on Xinjiang Communist Party secretary Chen Quanguo, who as a politburo member and a top official in the government.
China retaliated by asserting that "price must be paid" while slaming the bill, saying it "viciously attacks the Chinese government's policy of governing Xinjiang."