US Commerce Department on Monday restricted 11 Chinese entities' access to US technologies over their involvement in human rights abuses against Uighur minority in Xinjiang, northwest China.
The department said in a statement that this action "will result in these companies facing new restrictions on access to U.S.-origin items, including commodities and technology."
It accused the companies of implicating in "human rights violations and abuses in the implementation of the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) 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)."
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the step was taken to ensure that American goods are not used by the "repressive" Beijing regime.
"Beijing actively promotes the reprehensible practice of forced labor and abusive DNA collection and analysis schemes to repress its citizens," Ross said. "This action will ensure that our goods and technologies are not used in the Chinese Communist Party’s despicable offensive against defenseless Muslim minority populations.
The restrictions hit Changji Esquel Textile Co. Ltd., Hefei Bitland Information Technology Co. Ltd., Hefei Meiling Co. Ltd., Hetian Haolin Hair Accessories Co. Ltd., Hetian Taida Apparel Co., Ltd., KTK Group, Nanjing Synergy Textiles Co. Ltd., Nanchang O-Film Tech and Tanyuan Technology Co. Ltd., over forced labor.
Xinjiang Silk Road BGI and Beijing Liuhe BGI were also sanctioned over conducting genetic analyses.
Xinjiang region is home to around 10 million Uighurs. The Turkic Muslim group, which makes up around 45% of Xinjiang’s population, has long accused China's authorities of cultural, religious and economic discrimination.
Up to 1 million people, or about 7% of the Muslim population in Xinjiang, have been incarcerated in an expanding network of "political re-education" camps, according to US officials and UN experts.
By Beyza Binnur Donmez