The Biden administration on July 9 added a total of 19 Chinese entities to its economic blacklist over their role in furthering Beijing’s human rights abuses and supporting military aggression.
The blacklist includes 15 concerning Russia or Iran, adding up to a total of 34.
“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, adding that the department will continue using export controls to punish attempts “to access U.S.-origin items for subversive activities.”
The trade blacklist restricts the targeted firms from exporting or transferring products or technology without seeking additional licenses from the Commerce Department.
Among the sanctioned is Xinjiang Lianhai Chuangzhi Information Technology Co., a subsidiary of a state-owned military contractor that just won recognition in April for its accomplishment in the artificial intelligence realm.
Xinjiang Sailing Information Technology, another company on the list, was described by a Chinese major investment holding firm in a 2017 report (pdf) as one of the “pioneers” for “countering terrorism” in Xinjiang, a term that the regime frequently cited as a justification for the suppression of the region’s millions of Muslims.
“The firm is dedicated to providing solutions for government agencies such as the police to protect city security,” it stated. It noted a plan to export such equipment to Islamic countries such as Iraq, Iran, Syria, and Afghanistan through the Belt and Road Initiative, the regime’s trillion-dollar global infrastructure project to expand China’s economic and political influence in Asia, Europe, and Africa.
The Friday sanction reflects an escalation in the U.S. effort to scrutinize Chinese firms’ high-tech surveillance activity in Xinjiang.
In June, after seven of the world’s wealthiest democracies collectively rebuked China’s human rights abuses, the Commerce Department targeted five Chinese firms that accepted or utilized forced labor involving Uyghurs and other Muslim minority groups.
The same month, the Biden administration also expanded on a Trump-era blacklist to bar investment in 59 Chinese defense and tech firms involved in “the development or use of Chinese surveillance technology to facilitate repression or serious human rights abuse.”
A Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson on Friday insisted the Xinjiang issue was an internal affair and accused the United States of trying to “destabilize Xinjiang.”
The regime’s treatment of Xinjiang Uyghurs has drawn worldwide condemnation. The U.K.’s Foreign Affairs Committee on July 8 published a report calling for its government to take stronger responses, including boycotting the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics and import bans.
Days prior, French prosecutors opened investigations into four fashion retailers suspected of concealing “crimes against humanity.”