China exasperated by US import limits
BEIJING – China will take all necessary measures to protect its institutions and businesses, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Friday after the US Senate passed a law banning imports from the Xinjiang region, unless companies can prove that they were made without forced labor.
Spokesman Wang Wenbin said the measure approved Thursday “indicates that the United States has no qualms about smearing China by any means.”
“The actions concerned seriously undermine the principles of market economy and international economic and trade rules, and seriously undermine the interests of Chinese institutions and enterprises,” Wang told reporters at a daily press briefing. .
“China strongly deplores and rejects this and urges the United States to immediately correct its mistake. China will take all necessary measures to resolutely protect the rights and legitimate interests of Chinese institutions and enterprises,” Wang said without further details.
The law is the latest US sanction for China’s alleged systemic and widespread abuses against ethnic and religious minorities in its far western region, particularly the predominantly Muslim Uyghurs in Xinjiang.
President Joe Biden is expected to sign the law after overcoming initial White House hesitation and what supporters said was corporate opposition. He also announced on Thursday new sanctions targeting several Chinese biotechnology and surveillance companies, a major drone maker and government entities for their actions in Xinjiang.
Despite numerous independent investigations revealing forced sterilization and large detention camps where many Uyghurs are said to be forced to work in factories, China has denounced all these allegations as the “lie of the century”.
He presents them as part of an effort to stifle China’s growth and damage its reputation. China initially denied the existence of prison-like camps, but later said they were voluntary centers for vocational training and de-radicalization. He now says that all of the “students” have graduated.
“The US government is trying to strangle Xinjiang’s economy through its industrial and supply chains under false pretenses of ‘forced labor’ and ‘human rights violations,'” the agency said Friday. Xinhua official press release, citing a report from the Institute. for Central Asian Studies under Lanzhou University in Northwestern Gansu Province.
The United States claims that raw cotton, gloves, tomato products, silicon, fishing gear and a range of solar power components are among the products allegedly made with the help of forced labor.
Xinjiang is a resource-rich mining region important for agricultural and manufacturing production. Detainees are also sometimes transferred from Xinjiang to work in factories elsewhere, making clothing and textiles, electronics, solar power equipment and auto parts, according to the United States.
U.S. government agencies are required to expand monitoring of forced labor by China’s ethnic minorities. The new law establishes a presumption that goods from Xinjiang are made with forced labor, so companies wishing to import goods from there must prove that they were not involved in forced labor, including by workers transferred from Xinjiang.
Factory work has long been associated with camps, which have passed between 900,000 and 1.5 million Uyghurs and other Chinese Muslims, said Darren Byler, assistant professor of international studies at Simon Fraser University in Canada who has studied and written extensively on the camps. .
Workers seen as inconvenient can be sentenced to prison terms, sometimes in camps turned into penitentiaries, Byler said. After they leave, they are kept in line thanks to constant surveillance and the threat of being sent back to the camps, he said.
Muslims sent to work in other parts of China have no choice, are separated from their families and are accompanied by a Xinjiang Communist Party official and a police officer, Byler said. Their activities are very limited and they are not allowed to practice Islam.
“They live in really nonfree conditions,” Byler said.
The Commerce Department announced new sanctions targeting the Chinese Academy of Military Medical Sciences and 11 research institutes that focus on using biotechnology to support the Chinese military.
The move prohibits US companies from selling goods and technology to unlicensed entities.
Separately, the Treasury Department announced that it is placing DJI, the world’s largest drone maker, and seven other Chinese companies on an investment blacklist due to their alleged involvement in biometric surveillance and tracking. Uyghurs.
The measure means that Americans will be prohibited from buying or selling publicly traded securities related to companies.
DJI dominates the global market for small, low-level drones used by hobbyists, photographers, and many businesses and governments.
The White House announced last week that it would organize a diplomatic boycott of the upcoming Winter Olympics in Beijing, citing “gross human rights violations and atrocities in Xinjiang.” American athletes will compete but Biden will not send the usual contingent of dignitaries.
China has promised “resolute countermeasures” against the boycott, but has given no indication of how it plans to respond.
Rights groups note that prison labor has long been a part of the US economy, with inmates producing goods and providing services such as call centers for what is usually a reduced pay. Opponents say the system disproportionately benefits from the work of imprisoned black Americans.