China said Sunday that it would take all necessary measures to address the U.S. blacklisting Chinese companies for their alleged involvement in the abuses of Uyghurs and other Muslim ethnic minority peoples.
According to the Commerce Ministry, the U.S. action was an “unreasonable suppression of Chinese enterprises” and a grave breach of international economic trade and trade rules.
China will “take necessary steps to firmly protect Chinese companies’ legitimate rights, and interests,” according to the statement by the ministry.
Although no details were provided, China denied any allegations of arbitrary detention or forced labor in the western region of Xinjiang. It has also responded to sanctions against officials and companies with its own bans of visas and financial connections.
In a Friday statement, the U.S. Commerce Department stated that electronics and technology companies and other businesses had helped to “Beijing’s campaign of repression and mass detention as well as high-tech surveillance” against Muslim minorities within Xinjiang.
These penalties forbid Americans from selling equipment and other goods to these firms. The United States has increased trade and financial penalties for China’s treatment Uyghurs, and other Muslim minorities, and its crackdown against democracy in the semi-autonomous Chinese city of Hong Kong.
Since 2017, the Chinese government has held more than a million people in Xinjiang. China is accused of running forced labor camps, torture, and coerced sterilization in its alleged attempt to assimilate Muslim ethnic minorities.
According to the U.S. Commerce Department, 14 companies were added on its Entity List for their involvement in Xinjiang and five more for supporting China’s armed forces.
“The Department of Commerce is committed to taking strong and decisive action against entities that enable human rights violations in Xinjiang, or that use U.S. technological to fuel China’s military modernization efforts,” Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo stated in a statement posted to the department’s website.