The US House of Representatives has passed a bill to counter what it calls “arbitrary detention, torture, and harassment” of Uighur Muslims in China.
The bill calls for “targeted sanctions” on members of the Chinese government – and specifically names the Communist Party secretary in the Xinjiang autonomous region, Chen Quanguo.
The bill still needs to be approved by the Senate and President Trump.
China’s foreign ministry insisted Xinjiang was an “internal affair”.
The passing of the bill comes just days after Mr Trump signed into law a bill that supports pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong – leading to condemnation from China.,
The bill was passed by 407 to 1 in the House of Representatives on Tuesday night.
The purpose of the bill is “to address gross violations of universally recognised human rights, including the mass internment of over 1,000,000 Uighurs”.
The bill is expected to ramp up tensions as China and the US continue to be locked in an ongoing trade war.
Rights groups say that tens of thousands of Muslims are detained in high-security prison camps across Xinjiang.
But the Chinese government has consistently claimed the camps in the far western Xinjiang region offer voluntary education and training.
China had earlier this week suspended visits by US Navy ships and aircrafts to Hong Kong after the US passed the Human Rights and Democracy Act into law.
China’s foreign ministry said it “urged the US… [to] stop interfering in our internal affairs”.