The United States put Chinese biotech companies on the blacklist of the Department of Commerce on Thursday, accusing them of helping to strengthen surveillance of the Uyghur minority in Xinjiang, China.
The administration of US President Joe Biden has continuously condemned human rights violations and pointed out that US national security has been threatened. It is increasing economic sanctions against China’s interests, which has led to the deterioration of diplomatic relations with Beijing.
Washington on Wednesday announced sanctions on five Chinese entities accused of facilitating trafficking in synthetic opioids. These entities have killed a record high in the United States due to drug overdose. Beijing slammed these “non-constructive” measures.
The U.S. Department of Commerce has decided to attack China’s high technology this time, and these technologies will be used to infringe the rights of Uyghurs.
Human rights organizations report that China is conducting unprecedented surveillance of the Uyghur (mainly Muslim) population in northwestern Xinjiang through DNA research and artificial intelligence facial recognition operations.
“Scientific research in biotechnology and medical innovation can save lives. Unfortunately, the People’s Republic of China chooses to use these technologies to control its people and suppress members of ethnic and religious minorities,” U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimundo Lamented, defending the new sanctions.
Research institutions targeted by the latest US action include centers focused on blood transfusion, bioengineering, and toxicology.
Gina Raimundo said: “The United States will continue to resolutely oppose China and Iran’s efforts to transform tools that contribute to human prosperity into tools that threaten global security and stability.”
A total of 37 entities were added to the list of companies accused of participating in activities “violating U.S. foreign policy and national security interests.”
According to documents scheduled to be published in the official gazette on Friday, the list includes Chinese companies as well as companies from Georgia, Malaysia and Turkey.
Specifically, Washington decided to restrict sensitive exports to the Academy of Military Medical Sciences and its 11 research institutions because its biotechnology work includes “so-called brain-controlled weapons,” he explained.
Experts, witnesses, and the US government claimed that more than 1 million Uighurs and other Turkish-speaking Muslims were held in concentration camps in an attempt to eradicate their Islamic cultural traditions and forcibly homogenize them.
The United States called the campaign a genocide and planned to boycott the official representatives of the Beijing Winter Olympics next year on the grounds of human rights issues.
Beijing says these are vocational training centers and, like many Western countries, the government is seeking to reduce the appeal of radical Islam after the deadly attack.
But the United States will not ease the pressure. They are even expected to soon become the first country to ban all imports from Xinjiang, on the grounds that labor in concentration camps is very common and it is difficult to separate products produced under these conditions from other commodities.
After long negotiations, the Democrats and Republicans and the Biden government reached an agreement on the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Law to prohibit all imports from the region unless there is concrete evidence that the production does not involve forced labor.
Xinjiang is the main source of cotton supply. The Workers’ Rights Coalition, which monitors factories, estimates that 20% of the clothing imported into the United States each year contains materials from the region.