Rights group hails Biden decision to blacklist Chinese companies over Uighur genocide
The Council on American-Muslim relations (CAIR) has praised US President Joe Biden for his decision to add more than 10 Chinese companies to America's blacklist over alleged human rights abuses and high tech surveillance of its Uighur Muslim citizens in Xinjiang.
"American companies and consumers should be protected from aiding and abetting China’s genocide and cultural erasure of Muslims in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region," said Robert S Mccaw, CAIR director of government affairs department.
The Biden administration on Friday added 14 Chinese companies and other entities to its economic blacklist over alleged human rights abuses and high-tech surveillance in Xinjiang.
The Commerce Department said the companies had been "implicated in human rights violations and abuses in the implementation of China’s campaign of repression, mass detention, and high technology surveillance against Uighurs, Kazakhs, and other members of Muslim minority groups in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region".
Beijing denies the alleged abuses.
The companies to be blacklisted include the China Academy of Electronics and Information Technology; Xinjiang Lianhai Chuangzhi Information Technology Co; Shenzhen Cobber Information Technology Co; Xinjiang Sailing Information Technology; Beijing Geling Shentong Information Technology; Shenzhen Hua'antai Intelligent Technology Co., Ltd.; and Chengdu Xiwu Security System Alliance Co., Ltd, according to a Reuters report.
The Commerce Department said in total it was adding 34 entities including some from Russia and Iran, and another five entities directly supporting China's military modernisation programs related to lasers and battle management system.
"The Department of Commerce remains firmly committed to taking strong, decisive action to target entities that are enabling human rights abuses in Xinjiang or that use U.S. technology to fuel China’s destabilizing military modernization efforts," Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said in a statement.
The list also includes eight entities for facilitating the export of US items to Iran and six entities for involvement in the procurement of US-origin electronic components, likely in furtherance of Russian military programs.
The action follows the department's decision last month to add five other companies and other Chinese entities to the blacklist over allegations of forced labor in the far western region of China.
China dismisses accusations of genocide and forced labor in Xinjiang and says its policies are necessary to stamp out separatists and religious extremists who plotted attacks and stirred up tension between mostly Muslim ethnic Uighurs and Han, China's largest ethnic group.
"The Chinese side will take all necessary measures to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies and rejects U.S. attempts to interfere in China's internal affairs," said foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin on Friday.
The latest action shows President Biden seeks to press China over what the administration says are worsening human rights abuses against the Uighur population in Xinjiang.
Generally, entities added to the economic blacklist are required to apply for licenses from the Commerce Department and face tough scrutiny when they seek permission to receive items from U.S. suppliers.
This is not the first time the US government has targeted Chinese firms linked to allegations of high-tech surveillance activity in Xinjiang.
In 2019, the Trump administration added some of China’s top artificial intelligence startups to its economic blacklist over its treatment of Muslim minorities.