The US Department of Commerce economically blacklisted 11 more Chinese companies on Monday due to involvement in human rights abuses perpetrated against Uighur Muslims. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross cited China’s “campaign of repression, mass arbitrary detention, forced labor, involuntary collection of biometric data, and genetic analyses targeted at Muslim minority groups from the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR),” as the reason for the sanctions.
Ross claimed nine of the companies listed participate in a forced labor regime involving Uighurs and other Muslim minority groups. Ross asserted the other two companies included conducted genetic analyses used to further the repression of Uighurs and Muslim Minority groups.
The addition of the 11 companies marks the third round of additions to the list. Two previous rounds cited 37 entities also violating human rights.
This comes amidst rising tensions between China and the US. In recent weeks the US has authorized sanctions due to the new Hong Kong national security law and indicted Chinese hackers for stealing COVID-19 research. In addition, China imposed retaliatory sanctions against the US.
Most recently, the US announced the closure of China’s consulate in Houston, Texas. Pompeo stated: “We are setting out clear expectations about how the Chinese Communist Party will behave.” China spokesperson Wang Wenbin responded:
[The closure of the consulate] seriously violates international law, basic norms governing international relations and the bilateral consular agreement between China and the US. China strongly condemns such an outrageous and unjustified move which will sabotage China-US relations. We urge the US to immediately withdraw its erroneous decision, otherwise China will make legitimate and necessary reactions.