US to Blacklist More Chinese Companies over Human Rights Violations

More than 10 Chinese companies and other entities will be added as early as Friday to Biden administration’s economic blacklist over alleged human rights abuses and high-tech surveillance in China’s largely Muslim province of Xinjiang, Reuters reports.

The additions to U.S. Commerce Department’s Entity List are based on allegations of forced labor of the Uyghur population in the far western region of China and are part of the Biden administration’s measures to hold China accountable for human rights violations.

With an executive order signed last month, Biden added five more companies to the blacklist of 59 Chinese companies – including telecom-equipment giant Huawei Technologies Co.- banned from receiving American investments.

The companies on the Entity List generally face tough scrutiny when seeking permission to receive items from US suppliers and are required to apply for licenses from the Commerce Department.

The Commerce Department reported last month that it is blacklisting five Chinese companies for accepting or utilizing forced labor in the implementation of China’s campaign of repression against Muslim minority groups in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

No comments from the White House or the US Commerce Department have been issued so far.

Maintaining its stand of no wrongdoing, China outrightly denies the accusations of genocide and forced labor on Xinjiang’s Uyghur population, defending its policies as necessary to root out separatists and religious extremists who have stirred up tensions between Uyghur’s Muslim ethnic group and China’s largest ethnic group Han.

Responding to the development on Friday, China’s foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said that China will take all necessary measures to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of its companies and rejects US attempts to interfere in its internal affairs.

This is not first blacklisting of Chinese companies linked to China’s high-tech surveillance activity in Xinjiang; Trump administration in 2019 added to its economic blacklist 20 Chinese public security bureaus and eight companies- some of China’s top AI startups – implicated in “high-technology surveillance against Uighurs, Kazakhs, and other members of Muslim minority groups.”

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