Washington: President Joe Biden-led administration in the United States of America has recently stated that it may add another 10 Chinese companies to its economic blacklist over the alleged human rights violation and high-tech surveillance in Xinjiang.
The Commerce Department’s action comes after it announced last month that it had added five more companies and other Chinese organisations to the blacklist because of claims of forced labour in China’s far western region.
According to the sources close to news agency Reuters, the changes to the Commerce Department’s Entity List are part of the Biden administration’s efforts to make China responsible for human rights crimes.
China denied the allegations, claiming that its restrictions are required to combat separatists and religious extremists who plotted attacks and fuelled tensions between the Han, China’s largest ethnic group, and the predominantly Muslim ethnic Uyghurs.
“The Chinese side will take all necessary measures to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies and rejects US attempts to interfere in China’s internal affairs,” said foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin on Friday.
The Commerce Department announced last month that it was adding five Chinese firms to its sanctions list for using forced labour in the People’s Republic of China’s suppression of Muslim minority groups in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. The move in June targeted the five companies’ ability to access commodities, software, and technology, according to the department, and is part of a US Government-wide commitment to take forceful action against “China’s ongoing campaign of repression against Muslim minority groups” in Xinjiang.
This is not the first time the US government has targeted Chinese companies related to high-tech surveillance in Xinjiang. Back in 2019, in response to the country’s treatment of Muslim minorities, the Trump administration included several of China’s biggest artificial intelligence businesses to its economic blacklist.