Sanctions have been imposed by the United States on a top Xinjiang-based company and its two officials for allegedly abusing the human rights of Uighurs and other ethnic minorities in the area. 

According to a report, the top-ranking company Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps or XPCC has been blacklisted by the U.S. Treasury Department in view of accusations that the company and its two officials, Sun Jinlong and Peng Jiarui, had been involved in serious human rights abuse against the Muslim Uighur people living in the province of Xinjiang. 

America's Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that expressed his frustration and referred to the abuses as "the stain of the century." The move could further strain the already rusty relations between the U.S. and China -- the newest addition to last week's closing of the Chinese consulate in Houston by President Donald J. Trump, and the succeeding shuttering of the U.S. consulate in Chengdu.  

In defense, China had said in a statement that the Uighurs have only been attending vocational trainings in camps and completely denied that they had been abusive of the Uighurs. The said training have been aimed at lessening extremism in ethnic minority grups who could fall astray if not given proper guidance. 

In effect, all American assets of the XPCC and its two officials are going to be put on hold and people from the U.S. cannot engage in any form of dealing with them. Jinlong and Jiarui, and their families have also been prohibited from traveling to the U.S.

An unnamed official alleged that the XPCC is an underground paramilitary organization that acts under the direct control of the Chinese Communist Party (CPP). It added that the company is executing comprehensive surveillance, detention and indoctrination for the CCP and as such, poses a threat to Xinjiang-based minority groups. 

The Treasury has given only until Sept. 30 to perform all the relevant divestment transactions and activities related to the said firm. 

Reportedly, the province's Communist Party Secretary and member of the 19th Politburo, Chen Quanguo, had also been blacklisted by Washington as well as the Xinjiang Public Security Bureau and other officials. 

Critics have responded to Friday's sanctions and said that the said move has been the most meaningful among its other sanctions. For one, Peter Harrell who is a sanction had referred to the sanctions as the most "substantial escalation" following previous ones that were only symbolic.

Chinese Human Rights Defenders' Director Renee Xia had expressed her agreement with the sanctions but also commented that such penalties had long been overdue. This is agreed with by Republican Senator Marco Rubio who said that it is high time that these Chinese officials would be held accountable for such serious crimes. 

Although the XPCC has been originally formed to develop farms in Xinjiang's barren lands, there is now an estimate of 3.11 million people who have joined the corps. 

Racial and Ethnic Diversity Spread Across the Country Racial and Ethnic Diversity Spread Across the Country Flickr