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Uighurs | Washington targets Chinese biotechs



(Washington) The United States took economic sanctions Thursday against Chinese biotech and high-tech companies, accusing them of helping to amplify surveillance of the Uyghur minority in China’s Xinjiang province.

Relentlessly deploring human rights violations and pointing to threats to US national security, the administration of President Joe Biden is stepping up economic sanctions against Chinese interests, contributing to the deterioration of diplomatic relations with Beijing.

On Thursday, on the one hand, the Ministry of Commerce placed around thirty entities on a blacklist restricting sensitive exports; on the other hand, the Treasury has banned US nationals from doing business with eight high-tech companies, including the world’s number 1 drone DJI.

The latter was already on the blacklist of the Ministry of Commerce since December 2020.

These measures come the day after those targeting five other Chinese entities accused of promoting the trafficking of synthetic opiates, responsible for a record number of overdose deaths in the United States. Beijing castigated these decisions, deemed “unconstructive”.

The Ministry of Commerce and the Treasury have this time decided to attack Chinese high technology, which would be used to violate the rights of the Uyghur population, mainly Muslim, in the region of Xinjiang (northwest).

Human rights groups have reported that China is exercising unprecedented surveillance over this population, including research using DNA and the use of artificial intelligence for facial recognition.

“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 repress members of ethnic and religious minority groups, ”lamented US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, to justify the new sanctions.

Research institutes targeted by the latest US actions include centers focused on blood transfusions, bioengineering and toxicology.

High tech in the service of repression

It “shows how private companies in China’s defense and surveillance technology sectors are actively cooperating with the government in its efforts to suppress members of minority ethnic and religious groups,” said the Under-Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. financial intelligence, Brian Nelson.

“The Treasury remains committed to ensuring that the US financial system and US investors do not support these activities,” he added.

A total of 37 entities were added to the Commerce Department’s list of companies accused of being involved in activities “contrary to the foreign policy and national security interests of the United States.”

The list includes Chinese companies, but also firms from Georgia, Malaysia and Turkey, according to the document due to be published in the official gazette on Friday.

Intensification of sanctions

Concretely, Washington has decided to restrict sensitive exports to the Chinese Academy of Military Medical Sciences and 11 of its research institutes because of its biotechnology work, including “alleged brain control weapons,” he explains. he.

Experts, witnesses and the US government say more than a million Uyghurs and other Turkish-speaking Muslims are being held in camps. In addition to the forced sterilization of women, China is accused of imposing forced labor.

The United States has called the campaign genocide and, citing human rights concerns, plans to boycott official representation at the Beijing Winter Games next year.

China says these are vocational training centers and, like many Western countries, the government is seeking to reduce the appeal of radical Islam following deadly attacks.

But the United States is not about to ease the pressure. They are even expected to soon become the first country to ban all imports from Xinjiang, arguing that labor in the camps is so widespread that it is difficult to separate products that are made under these conditions from other goods.

After lengthy negotiations, elected Democrats and Republicans reached agreement on a law that will ban all imports from the region, unless there is tangible proof that the production does not involve forced labor.

Xinjiang is a major source of cotton supply. The Workers Rights Consortium, which monitors factories, estimates that 20% of clothing imported into the United States each year contains material from that region.

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