Editor’s note for Thursday, July 9, 2020

A note from the editor of today's SupChina Access newsletter.

Dear Access member,

China’s foreign ministry officials have their hands full: see our top story below about Australia and Canada suspending their extradition treaties with Hong Kong; or see pretty much any of our daily newsletters in the last couple of months! Now here is another development they will have to deal with:

The U.S. Treasury Department today announced global Magnitsky sanctions on Xinjiang’s Communist Party Secretary Chén Quánguó 陈全国, and three other officials connected to human rights abuses in Xinjiang. The Xinjiang Public Security Bureau is also sanctioned, as an entity.  

Reuters says that a “senior administration official who briefed reporters after the announcements described Chen as the highest ranking Chinese official ever sanctioned by the United States.” The official said that the blacklisting is “no joke… Not only in terms of symbolic and reputational effect, but it does have real meaning on a person’s ability to move around the world and conduct business.”

Also today, Chinese foreign minister Wáng Yì 王毅 said “that Sino-American relations are facing their ‘most severe challenge’ since the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1979, per Caixin. He said that Washington has recently tried “relentlessly to frustrate and contain China’s development, and to impede interactions between China and the U.S.,” and he “urged the U.S. to reestablish existing mechanisms for discussions with China ‘as soon as possible.”’  

“Senior China diplomat urges positive energy in ties with United States” is how Reuters titled their piece on the same speech. I don’t think “positive energy” is a buzzword that will excite Washington D.C. right now, at least not when it comes to China.

Our word of the day is Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act: 全球马格尼茨基人权问责法 quánqiú mǎgénícíjī rénquán wènzé fǎ.

—Jeremy Goldkorn, Editor-in-Chief