The United States on Monday (local time) announced sanctions against a new group of 11 Chinese companies for their alleged involvement in human rights violations in China’s western province of Xinjiang, home to about 1 million Uighurs Muslims.
The Commerce Department added those 11 companies to a trade blacklist, bringing nearly 50 Chinese entities on the list, and restrict them further from access to American technology as well as other goods, The Washington Post reported.
“Beijing actively promotes the reprehensible practice of forced labour and abusive DNA collection and analysis schemes to repress its citizens,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement.
“This action will ensure that our goods and technologies are not used in the Chinese Communist Party’s despicable offensive against defenceless Muslim minority populations,” the statement read.
The Department said nine of the companies were involved in forced-labour activities involving Uighurs and other Muslim minority groups.
Ross said the step was taken to ensure that American goods are not used by the “repressive” Beijing regime.
“Beijing actively promotes the reprehensible practice of forced labour and abusive DNA collection and analysis schemes to repress its citizens,” Ross said. “This action will ensure that our goods and technologies are not used in the Chinese Communist Party’s despicable offensive against defenceless Muslim minority populations.”
The restrictions hit Changji Esquel Textile Co. Ltd., Hefei Bitland Information Technology Co. Ltd., Hefei Meiling Co. Ltd., Hetian Haolin Hair Accessories Co. Ltd., Hetian Taida Apparel Co., Ltd., KTK Group, Nanjing Synergy Textiles Co. Ltd., Nanchang O-Film Tech and Tanyuan Technology Co. Ltd., over forced labour.
Xinjiang Silk Road BGI and Beijing Liuhe BGI were also sanctioned over conducting genetic analyses.
Xinjiang region is home to around 10 million Uighurs. The Turkic Muslim group, which makes up around 45 per cent of Xinjiang’s population, has long accused China’s authorities of cultural, religious and economic discrimination.
About 7 per cent of the Muslim population in Xinjiang, has been incarcerated in an expanding network of “political re-education” camps, according to US officials and UN experts.