Washington D.C., Oct 8, 2019 / 14:18 pm
The US Commerce Department on Monday added 28 Chinese organizations to a blacklist barring them from buying products from US companies, saying they co-operate in the detention and repression of Uighurs in the country's northwest.
The Oct. 7 Commerce Department filing said the groups are engaging in or enabling “activities contrary to the foreign policy interests of the United States,” specifically “human rights violations and abuses in the implementation of China’s campaign of repression, mass arbitrary detention, and high-technology surveillance against Uighurs, Kazakhs, and other members of Muslim minority groups in the [Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region].”
An estimated 1 million Uighurs, members of a Muslim ethnoreligious group, have been detained in re-education camps in Xinjiang.
Inside the camps they are reportedly subjected to forced labor, torture, and political indoctrination. Outside the camps, Uighurs are monitored by pervasive police forces and facial recognition technology.
The 28 groups added to the Entity List will be unable to buy from US companies without the approval of the US government. The groups are the Xinjiang public security bureau, 19 of its subordinates, and eight technology companies that produce video surveillance equipment, artificial intelligence, and voice recognition technology.
Announcing the additions, US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the US “will not tolerate the brutal suppression of ethnic minorities within China.”
Geng Shuang, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, said, “there is no such thing as these so-called 'human rights issues' as claimed by the United States. These accusations are nothing more than an excuse for the United States to deliberately interfere in China's internal affairs.”
The Chinese government has said reports on the camps by Western governments and media are unfounded, claiming they are vocational training centers and that it is combatting extremism.