The U.S. government on Friday added 14 Chinese companies and other entities to it’s economic blacklist over alleged human rights abuses and high-tech surveillance in Xinjiang. Xinjiang, officially known as Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region (XUAR), is an autonomous region of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), and the 8th-largest country subdivision in the world. The region is home to Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and other minorities, and has been subject to crackdowns imposed by Beijing.
According to the Commerce Department, the blacklisted companies have been “implicated in human rights violations and abuses in the implementation of China’s campaign of repression, mass detention, and high technology surveillance against Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and other members of Muslim minority groups in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.”
The Chinese have been alleged of persecuting Uyghurs and Turkic Muslims, because of their religion and culture. Reports have it the Chinese authorities have committed a wide range of offenses targeted at a particular group, or population; amongst which include mass arbitrary detention, torture, enforced disappearances, mass surveillance, cultural and religious erasure, separation of families, forced returns to China, forced labor, and sexual violence and violations of reproductive rights.
The Commerce Department said that 34 entities were being added in total to its economic blacklist, including some from Russia and Iran, and another five entities directly supporting China’s military modernization programs related to lasers and battle management system.
In the words of Gina Raimondo; the United States Secretary ofCommerce, “the Commerce Department remains grounded in its strong commitment to taking decisive action against entities that facilitate human rights abuses in Xinjiang, as well as those that use US technology to enhance China’s destabilizing military modernization efforts”. Included in the list are eight entities that enable the exportation of US items to Iran, and six entities involvedin the procurement of US-origin electronic components, which is likely for the facilitation of Russian military programs.
Rights groups and media report that more than a million Turkic Muslims living in China’s northwestern Xinjiang region have been detained in “re-education camps,” where they are forced to learn Han Chinese culture and taught Communist Party doctrine. China denies the accusations of human rights abuses, genocide, and forced labor. China says that its policies are aimed towards the eradication of separatists and religious extremists who stand as a threat to the country‘s national unity.