U.S. President Donald Trump signed legislation on Wednesday calling for sanctions against those responsible for repression of Uighur Muslims in China’s Xinjiang province, the White House said in a statement.
The bill, which passed the U.S. Congress nearly unanimously, was intended to send China a strong message on human rights by mandating sanctions against those responsible for oppression of members of China’s Muslim minority.
The United Nations estimates that more than a million Muslims have been detained in camps in Xinjiang.
Trump issued a “signing statement” saying that some of the bill’s sanctions requirements might limit his constitutional authority as president to conduct diplomacy so he would regard them as advisory, not mandatory.
Trump did not hold a ceremony to mark his signing the bill into law, which came as U.S. newspapers published excerpts from a new book by his former national security adviser, John Bolton.
Among other allegations in the book, Bolton said Trump sought Chinese President Xi Jinping’s help to win re-election during a closed-door 2019 meeting and that Trump said Xi should go ahead with building the camps in Xinjiang.