US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said in a statement Monday that the restrictions would ensure that US products and technologies are not used in “the Chinese Communist Party’s despicable offensive against defenseless Muslim minority populations.”
Washington did not specify which US companies do business with sanctioned Chinese companies. But Apple (, Calvin Klein and )Nike (, among others, have all partnered with some of the companies on the list, according to a report released in June by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI). The report looked at the use of Uyghur labor in China, claiming that these people “work in factories that are part of the supply chains of at least 83 well-known global brands in the tech sectors. , clothing and automotive ”. )
Tensions between US and China have been escalating for months as the two fight for trade and technology, leading to friction between companies that depend on a strong economic relationship between the world’s greatest powers.
China’s western Xinjiang region is culturally and ethnically different from most of the rest of the country, with a sizable Turkish minority, and has had a difficult relationship with the Beijing government for years.
The US State Department estimates that since 2015, up to two million Muslim-majority Uyghurs and other Turkish minorities have been imprisoned in huge re-education camps in Xinjiang, as part of a regional crackdown by Beijing.
Chinese officials have long defended the crackdown in Xinjiang as necessary to counter extremism and in accordance with Chinese law and international practice.
“The United States is abusing export control measures under the pretext of alleged human rights,” Wang Wenbin, spokesperson for China’s Foreign Ministry, said Tuesday. “It violates basic standards of international relations, interferes in China’s internal affairs and harms China’s interests. ”
In recent weeks, Washington has also stepped up its efforts to sanction Chinese products produced through forced labor.
On July 1, U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized 13 tons of human hair in products originating in Xinjiang. A week later, the US Treasury Department announced sanctions against four officials of the Chinese Communist Party and the Xinjiang Public Security Bureau for human rights violations against Uyghur Muslims and other ethnic minorities in Xinjiang. .