The U.S. Commerce Department announced sanctions on Monday against 28 Chinese entities involved in human rights violations against Uighur Muslims in the Chinese region of Xinjiang.
The Department confirmed the move on its website, saying that all the listed entities were “implicated in the implementation of China’s campaign of repression, mass arbitrary detention, and high-technology surveillance”:
Today, the Bureau of Industry and Security of the Department of Commerce announced that it will add 28 Chinese governmental and commercial organizations to the Entity List for engaging in or enabling activities contrary to the foreign policy interests of the United States.
This action constricts the export of items subject to the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) to entities that have been implicated in human rights violations and abuses in China’s campaign targeting Uighurs and other predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR).
Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said the move showed that the U.S. “cannot and will not tolerate the brutal suppression of ethnic minorities within China.”
“This action will ensure that our technologies, fostered in an environment of individual liberty and free enterprise, are not used to repress defenseless minority populations,” he said.
“I begged them to kill me.” Uighur woman testifies before Congress on torture in Chinese concentration camps
— Unmatched Wisdom of Poso ?? (@JackPosobiec) December 5, 2018
In recent years, China has detained millions of Uighur Muslims and other ethnic minorities in what Beijing has falsely claimed are “voluntary de-radicalization camps” and “vocational training centers.”
According to countless witness testimonies and human rights investigations, the centers more closely resemble internment camps, where detainees are indoctrinated in support of the Chinese communist state and coerced into disavowing their allegiance to Islam. This week, female victims told the Washington Post how authorities used rape, forced abortions, and the harvesting of organs, crimes they described as amounting to “genocide.”
‘I was shackled and beaten’ – Gulbahar is a Uighur Muslim and says she was held in a camp in China’s Xinjiang region.
China says the camps are “vocational training centres” and denies abuse.
— Sky News (@SkyNews) September 30, 2019
Chinese officials have long sought to quell criticism of the crackdown in Xinjiang by describing it as a necessary measure to tackle terrorism, alleging the region’s population is susceptible to Islamic radicalism.
In a statement Tuesday, Beijing said the U.S. accusations were “groundless and senseless” and the latest round of sanctions “seriously violated the basic rules of international relations.”
“We urge the US to immediately correct its mistakes, withdraw relevant decisions and stop interfering with China’s internal affairs,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang at a press briefing. “China will continue to take resolute measures to firmly safeguard its national sovereignty and developmental interests.”
When asked by a reporter whether China would consider a form of retaliation, Geng responded, “Please keep watching.”
The blacklisting of Chinese organizations comes days before high-level trade talks are set to resume in Washington with the aim of ending the ongoing trade war between the two countries, although President Donald Trump has warned that the reaching of a conclusive deal remains “unlikely.”
“My inclination is to get a big deal. We’ve come this far. We’re doing well,” Trump said at the White House on Tuesday. “Can something happen? I guess, maybe. Who knows? But I think it’s probably unlikely.”