US blacklists 28 Chinese entities over abuses against Muslims in Xinjiang

WASHINGTON, Oct 8 (NNN-AGENCIES) — The US Commerce Department announced it is blacklisting 28 Chinese entities that it says are implicated in
rights violations and abuses targeting Uighurs and other mostly Muslim
minorities in the Xinjiang region.

Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced the move, which bars the named entities from purchasing US products, saying the United States “cannot and will not tolerate the brutal suppression of ethnic minorities within China.”

According to an update to the US Federal Register set to be published
Wednesday, the blacklisted firms included video surveillance company
Hikvision, as well as artificial intelligence companies Megvii Technology and SenseTime.

The ban comes amid heightened tensions between the US and China,
particularly over trade policy and Beijing’s actions in the western Xinjiang
region.

The world’s two biggest economies are in the midst of a trade war that’s
seen them impose tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars in bilateral
trade.

On Monday, the White House announced that talks between the two countries were set to resume on Thursday, with Beijing’s top trade envoy Liu He due to meet US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

The US has meanwhile stepped up its rhetoric against Beijing over its
policies in the western Xinjiang region.

Right groups say China has detained around one million Uighurs and other
Muslims in re-education camps in the region, actions that Washington has said are reminiscent of Nazi Germany.

During last month’s United Nations General Assembly, the State Department
organized an event to highlight the plight of the Uighurs, with the US’s
second-highest diplomat John Sullivan decrying “China’s horrific campaign of repression.”

“In Xinjiang, the Chinese government prevents Muslims from praying and
reading the Quran, and it has destroyed or defaced a great number of
mosques,” Sullivan said.

“This is a systematic campaign by the Chinese Communist Party to stop its
own citizens from exercising their unalienable right to religious freedom.”

China had until recently denied the existence of re-education camps, but
now claims they are “vocational training schools” necessary to control
terrorism, while decrying interference in its “internal affairs.”

The 28 entities blacklisted include 18 public security bureaus in Xinjiang,
one police college and eight businesses.

“These entities have been implicated in human rights violations and abuses
in the implementation of China’s campaign of repression, mass arbitrary
detention, and high-technology surveillance against Uighurs, Kazakhs and
other members of Muslim minority groups,” the Federal Register update said.

The blacklisting of the Chinese companies follows Washington’s earlier move to stop technology giant Huawei and other Chinese firms from obtaining government contracts.

Hikvision was also included in that ban, which will preclude any US federal
agency from purchasing telecom or technology equipment from the firms and comes amid concern that Huawei is linked to Chinese intelligence.

The US fears that systems built by Huawei could be used by Beijing for
espionage via secret “backdoors” built into telecom networking equipment. — NNN-AGENCIES