Beijing condemns new US sanctions against Chinese companies linked to the use of “forced labor” in Xinjiang (the country’s north-west), where Uyghurs live. Washington has banned the import of solar panel materials manufactured by Hoshine Silicon Industries Co. US officials have also issued trade sanctions on four other companies. “The state-promoted forced labor in Xinjiang is an insult to human dignity and an example of China’s unfair economic practices”, the US president said. Chinese diplomacy immediately condemned these new measures. “These are gangster methods that rob other people’s property,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a news conference on Friday. “The victims of these American acts will, ultimately, be the residents of Xinjiang and their rights to subsistence and development. This creates forced poverty, forced unemployment,” he denounced.
Xinjiang has long been affected by attacks by separatists or Islamists of Uighur Muslim ethnicity. The authorities have carried out strict police surveillance there for many years. The United States, based on studies conducted by Western researchers, accuses China of arbitrarily interning more than a million Uighurs in “camps” in Xinjiang. Beijing denies this figure and confirms that it is about “vocational training centers” aimed at helping the population find jobs in order to distance it from Islamic extremism. “The United States is using the pretext of human rights (…) to block Xinjiang’s industrial development,” the Chinese spokesman said.
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US officials have already prohibited the importation of hair products, cotton, computer parts or clothing manufactured by companies in the region.
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