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US sanctions 11 Chinese firms over Uighur rights violations

US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross
US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross Fabrice COFFRINI AFP
2 min
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Washington (AFP)

The US Commerce Department on Monday announced it has blacklisted 11 Chinese businesses for involvement in human rights violations against the Uighur minority, cutting off the firms' access to American goods.

Washington, together with other western nations and rights groups, has accused Beijing of interning at least a million Muslims from the Uighur ethnic group in the western Xinjiang region.

In a statement, the Commerce Department said the 11 sanctioned companies are "implicated in human rights violations and abuses in the implementation of the People's Republic of China's campaign of repression, mass arbitrary detention, forced labor, involuntary collection of biometric data, and genetic analyses."

Commerce sanctioned nine companies -- Changji Esquel Textile, Hefei Bitland Information Technology, Hefei Meiling, Hetian Haolin Hair Accessories, Hetian Taida Apparel, KTK Group, Nanjing Synergy Textiles, Nanchang O-Film Tech and Tanyuan Technology -- for involvement in forced labor.

Xinjiang Silk Road and Beijing Liuhe were both sanctioned for "conducting genetic analyses used to further the repression" of Uighurs, Commerce said.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo earlier this month called China's treatment of Uighurs "the stain of the century."

But Beijing denies an wrongdoing, saying Uighurs are attending vocational training centers.

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