Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the two officials targeted — the commander, Peng Jiarui, and the former commissar, Sun Jinlong — would also be subject to U.S. visa restrictions. The Trump administration has previously sanctioned other officials in Xinjiang subjecting them to travel bans.
Meanwhile, the White House lashed out at the postponement of the upcoming Hong Kong elections in comments likely to draw accusations of hypocrisy from China after Trump's tweeted suggestion on Thursday that the U.S. elections be postponed to prevent fraud from mail-in ballots expected to flood the polls because of the virus outbreak.
“We condemn the Hong Kong government’s decision to postpone for one year its legislative council elections and to disqualify opposition candidates,” White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said. “This action undermines the democratic processes and freedoms that have underpinned Hong Kong’s prosperity and this is only the most recent in a growing list of broken promises by Beijing."
Earlier Friday, Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam announced the government was invoking an emergency ordinance to postpone the highly anticipated legislative elections by a year, citing a worsening coronavirus outbreak.
The postponement is a setback for the pro-democracy opposition, which was hoping to capitalize on disenchantment with the current pro-Beijing majority to make gains. A group of 22 lawmakers issued a statement ahead of the announcement accusing the government of using the outbreak as an excuse to delay the vote.