On July 9, the Biden administration added 19 Chinese entities to its economic blacklist for their roles in facilitating Beijing’s human rights violations and supporting military aggression.
The blacklist includes 15 items related to Russia or Iran, for a total of 34.
“The Department of Commerce remains firmly committed to taking strong, decisive action to target entities that enable human rights abuses in Xinjiang or use U.S. technology to fuel China’s destabilising military modernization efforts,” Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said in a statement.
The trade blacklist prevents the targeted companies from exporting or transferring products or technology without first obtaining additional Commerce Department licences.
Among those sanctioned is Xinjiang Lianhai Chuangzhi Information Technology Co., a subsidiary of a state-owned military contractor that was recently recognised for its achievements in the field of artificial intelligence.
Another company on the list, Xinjiang Sailing Information Technology, was described in a 2017 report (pdf) by a Chinese major investment holding firm as one of the “pioneers” for “countering terrorism” in Xinjiang, a term that the regime frequently
“The firm is committed to providing solutions for government agencies such as the police to protect city security,” it stated. It mentioned a plan to export such equipment to Islamic countries like Iraq, Iran, Syria, and Afghanistan as part of the Belt and Road Initiative, the regime’s trillion-dollar global infrastructure project to increase China’s economic and political influence in Asia, Europe, and Africa.
The sanction imposed on Friday represents an increase in the United States’ efforts to scrutinise Chinese firms’ high-tech surveillance activity in Xinjiang.
Following the collective condemnation of China’s human rights violations by seven of the world’s wealthiest democracies in June, the Commerce Department targeted five Chinese firms that accepted or used forced labour involving Uyghurs and other Muslim minority groups.
In the same month, the Biden administration expanded on a Trump-era blacklist by prohibiting investment in 59 Chinese defence and technology firms involved in “the development or use of Chinese surveillance technology to facilitate repression or serious human rights abuse.”
On Friday, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson insisted that the Xinjiang issue was an internal matter and accused the US of attempting to “destabilise Xinjiang.”
The regime’s treatment of Xinjiang Uyghurs has sparked international outrage. The Foreign Affairs Committee of the United Kingdom issued a report on July 8 calling on the government to take stronger measures, such as boycotting the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics and imposing import bans.
Prosecutors in France had opened an investigation into four fashion retailers suspected of concealing “crimes against humanity” just days before.