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US restricts Chinese officials’ visas over Uighur ‘repression’

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The United States said Tuesday it would curb visas for Chinese officials over “repression” of Uighurs and other Muslims in the western region of Xinjiang, a day after imposing commercial restrictions.

“The United States calls on the People’s Republic of China to immediately end its campaign of repression in Xinjiang,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.

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Pompeo called on China to “release all those arbitrarily detained, and cease efforts to coerce members of Chinese Muslim minority groups residing abroad to return to China to face an uncertain fate.”

The State Department said it would restrict visas to Chinese government and Communist Party officials involved in “detention or abuse” of Uighurs, Kazakhs or other predominantly Muslim ethnicities in Xinjiang.

The order will also affect their family members, including children who may be seeking the prestige of an American education.

The State Department did not specify the names of officials who would be affected.

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But lawmakers have asked the United States specifically to take action against Chen Quanguo, the Communist Party chief for Xinjiang.

Reputed within the party for his handling of minority groups, he earlier led iron-fisted policies aimed at curbing dissent in Tibet.

The Commerce Department on Monday blacklisted 28 Chinese entities including video surveillance firm Hikvision and artificial intelligence companies Megvii Technology and SenseTime over their involvement in Xinjiang.

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Beijing voiced its “strong dissatisfaction and resolute opposition” over the move and denied there were any human rights abuses in Xinjiang.

Rights groups say some one million Uighurs and other Muslims are being held in a vast network of camps in Xinjiang aimed at homogenizing the population into China’s majority Han culture.

Witnesses say that China has sought to force Uighurs to drop core practices of Islam such as fasting during Ramadan and abstaining from alcohol and pork.

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China, after initially denying the camps, describes them as vocational training schools aimed at preventing the allure of Islamist extremism and violence.


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Kellyanne Conway accused of violating Hatch Act at least 50 times this year — on Twitter alone

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According to a report from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway has "surpassed 50 violations of the Hatch Act on Twitter alone this past year."

Explaining the numbers, the report states, "CREW’s report on Conway’s continued violations outlines five categories of tweets that violate the Hatch Act: attacking or mocking Democratic presidential candidates, attacking the Democratic Party, promoting President Trump's re-election, promoting the Republican Party, and attacking President Trump's political adversaries. Conway has multiple violations in each category," before noting that Twitter's Terms of Service indicates one of Trump's closest aides is in violation and should have her account suspended.

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Turkey’s foreign minister bursts out laughing as he mocks Trump’s erratic tweets

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Speaking to the BBC's HARDtalk this Friday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu scoffed at the Trump administration's threat of sanctions over his country's military operation in northeast Syria, saying that the threat is the result of erratic confused messaging that's not doing anything to help the situation.

Cavusoglu laughed and mocked Trump for his constant tweeting about various issues, including Turkey.

"Different voices, different positions are coming from the United States, because of the differences between the administration, the State Department, Pentagon, and this and that," he said.

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GOP lawmaker hammers Trump for Ukraine server conspiracy theory: ‘Are we trying to exculpate Russia?’

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Rep. Francis Rooney (R-OK) on Friday signaled that he was taking House Democrats' impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump far more seriously than many of his Republican colleagues.

During an interview with CNN's Poppy Harlow, Rooney said he was very disturbed at the president's efforts to prove a debunked conspiracy theory about Ukraine purportedly being behind the hack of the Democratic National Committee in 2016, despite the fact that all evidence that has been uncovered points directly to Russia as the true culprit.

Harlow then asked him what he made about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-CA) comment that "all roads" in the Ukraine scandal lead back to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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