U.S. Adds Sanctions Over Internment of Muslims in China
China hawks in the administration blamed Mr. Trump and top economic advisers, including Mr. Mnuchin, for holding back on sanctions in order to avoid jeopardizing trade talks with China and to cozy up to Xi Jinping, the Chinese leader. But now, as the pandemic roils the United States and endangers the president’s prospects of re-election, Mr. Trump has begun to sour on maintaining cordial relations with China, and the hawks have greater leeway to pursue tougher actions on China and to try to set the two nations on a long-term course for confrontation.Mr. Trump’s campaign strategists have also urged him to attack China in an attempt to turn the spotlight away from the president’s failures on the pandemic and the economy.“Today’s designations are the latest U.S. government action in an ongoing effort to deter human rights abuse in the Xinjiang region,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the most vocal of the China hawks, said in a statement on Friday.The Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps was founded in 1954 as a group entwined with the People’s Liberation Army that would oversee the deployment of large numbers of ethnic Han citizens, many of them military veterans, to Xinjiang to build farms, factories and towns that would allow China to consolidate control of the important border region and the many ethnic minority groups there. The Coronavirus Outbreak ›Frequently Asked QuestionsUpdated July 27, 2020Should I refinance my mortgage?It could be a good idea, because mortgage rates have never been lower. Refinancing requests have pushed mortgage applications to some of the highest levels since 2008, so be prepared to get in line. But defaults are also up, so if you’re thinking about buying a home, be aware that some lenders have tightened their standards.What is school going to look like in September?It is unlikely that many schools will return to a normal schedule this fall, requiring the grind of online learning, makeshift child care and stunted workdays to continue. California’s two largest public school districts — Los Angeles and San Diego — said on July 13, that instruction will be remote-only in the fall, citing concerns that surging coronavirus infections in their areas pose too dire a risk for students and teachers. Together, the two districts enroll some 825,000 students. They are the largest in the country so far to abandon plans for even a partial physical return to classrooms when they reopen in August. For other districts, the solution won’t be an all-or-nothing approach. Many systems, including the nation’s largest, New York City, are devising hybrid plans that involve spending some days in classrooms and other days online. There’s no national policy on this yet, so check with your municipal school system regularly to see what is happening in your community.Is the coronavirus airborne?The coronavirus can stay aloft for hours in tiny droplets in stagnant air, infecting people as they inhale, mounting scientific evidence suggests. This risk is highest in crowded indoor spaces with poor ventilation, and may help explain super-spreading events reported in meatpacking plants, churches and restaurants. It’s unclear how often the virus is spread via these tiny droplets, or aerosols, compared with larger droplets that are expelled when a sick person coughs or sneezes, or transmitted through contact with contaminated surfaces, said Linsey Marr, an aerosol expert at Virginia Tech. Aerosols are released even when a person without symptoms exhales, talks or sings, according to Dr. Marr and more than 200 other experts, who have outlined the evidence in an open letter to the World Health Organization.What are the symptoms of coronavirus?Does asymptomatic transmission of Covid-19 happen?So far, the evidence seems to show it does. A widely cited paper published in April suggests that people are most infectious about two days before the onset of coronavirus symptoms and estimated that 44 percent of new infections were a result of transmission from people who were not yet showing symptoms. Recently, a top expert at the World Health Organization stated that transmission of the coronavirus by people who did not have symptoms was “very rare,” but she later walked back that statement.As of 2009, the group, which reports directly to Beijing, had an annual output of goods and services of $7 billion, and the settlements and entities overseen by the bingtuan, or soldiers corps, included five cities, 180 farming communities and 1,000 companies. They also run their own courts, universities and media organizations.On July 9, the United States imposed sanctions on four Chinese officials associated with Xinjiang policy, including Chen Quanguo, the party chief of the region and a member of the Chinese Communist Party’s 25-member ruling Politburo. That move was largely symbolic, but it sent a stronger message than an October 2019 action in which the administration placed 28 Chinese companies and police departments deemed to be associated with Xinjiang abuses on a blacklist that forbids American companies from selling technology and other goods to them without a license. At that time, the State Department also announced visa restrictions on some Chinese officials.On July 20, the Trump administration added 11 new Chinese entities, including companies supplying major American brands like Apple, Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger, to the list that restricts them from purchasing American products, saying the firms were complicit in human rights violations in Xinjiang. That brought to 48 the total number of Chinese companies and security units on the U.S. entity list for violations related to Xinjiang.