The US House voted Wednesday to authorize sanctions against Chinese officials for human rights abuses against Muslim minorities, as Congress and the White House ratchet up pressure on the government in Beijing amid rising tensions between the world’s two biggest economies, Report says, citing Hill.

“Beijing has leveraged its economic clout to silence criticism and its horrific human rights abuses. Many countries, particularly Muslim countries that always speak out when any group of Muslims is being denied their human rights, have been pressured into silence,” said democratic house member Brad Sherman.

“And now China wants the world to forget about the Uighurs as we grapple with this global pandemic. We must push back. Today we send a message that we stand with the Uighurs, fight for the oppressed, and we will not forget.”

In early may, Upper House of the US Congress unanimously passed the bill. Now the document is sent for signature to the head of state, Donald Trump.

The Uighurs are Turkic-speaking Muslims from the Central Asian region. The largest population lives in China’s autonomous Xinjiang region, in the country’s north-west.