U.S. authorities warn businesses linked to China’s Xinjiang region over ‘high risk’ of violating the law

The Biden administration on Tuesday warned businesses connected with China’s Xinjiang province that they face a high risk of violating the U.S. which may lead to serious legal consequences. The administration cited evidence of genocide and other human rights violations in the Chinese northwest region.

In a joint statement, the State Department, Treasury, Commerce, Homeland Security, Labor, and Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, wrote that “businesses and individuals that do not exit supply chains, ventures, and/or investments connected to Xinjiang could run a high risk of violating U.S. law.”

The current warning strengthens previous warnings that were issued to companies that are “indirectly” linked to the Chinese government in Xinjiang. It highlighted potential violations of U.S. laws these businesses were likely to get caught in.

State Department spokesperson Ned Price on Tuesday wrote in a statement that the Chinese government “continues its horrific abuses in Xinjiang Autonomous Region and elsewhere in China, targeting Uyghurs, ethnic Kazakhs, and ethnic Kyrgyz who are predominantly Muslim, and members of other ethnic and religious minority groups.” He added that the abuses include state-sponsored forced labor and intrusive surveillance. Others include forced population control, forced separation of children from families, growing genocide, and other human rights violations.

The Biden administration, last week added 14 Chinese companies and other entities to its blacklist over alleged human rights violations. Before now, the United States sanctioned two Chinese officials over alleged roles in human rights abuses against the minority in Xinjiang. Similar actions were taken by the European Union, the United Kingdom, and Canada. 

U.S. Customs and Border Protection control recently banned some importation from the region.

The Chinese government rejected U.S. accusations against it, saying that no genocide was committed against the Uyghurs. The Foreign Ministry referred to the claims as “malicious lies” created to “smear China” and frustrate the country’s development. 

U.S. – China Trade War

In July 2018, former U.S. President Donald Trump instigated the trade war with China, During his 2016 presidential campaign, Trump promised to reduce the trade deficit with China due to unfair Chinese trading practices including forced technology transfers, theft of intellectual property, lack of market access for American companies in China, among others. China, on the other hand, believed that the United States was trying to sabotage its rise as a global economic power.

The U.S. and China have been going back and forth as the two largest economies in the world. China's foreign trade grew rapidly in 2001, but lopsided with the growing trade deficit with China. The trade war officially began on July 6, 2018, when the U.S. imposed a 25% tariff on Chinese imports worth $34 billion.


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