Washington has imposed new sanctions on Beijing, provoking a backlash
China reacted by expressing "strong opposition" to the new US sanctions
The United States has stepped up sanctions against Beijing on Thursday, passing a bill banning imports of products from Xinjiang province and imposing sanctions on Chinese technology and biotechnology companies, as Washington is determined to end human rights abuses.
China has already reacted by expressing "strong opposition" to the new US sanctions.
"We will take all necessary measures to resolutely protect the rights and legitimate interests of Chinese companies and entities," said Wang Wenbin, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry.
Repeatedly denouncing human rights abuses and threats against US national security, the administration of US President Joe Biden has in recent months increased economic sanctions against Chinese interests, causing diplomatic relations to deteriorate.
The U.S. Department of Commerce launched the attack on Thursday, restricting sensitive exports from about 30 Chinese entities. The Treasury Department then barred U.S. citizens from doing business with China's eight technology companies, including the world's largest drone maker, DJI, which has been on the Commerce Department's blacklist for two years.
Finally, the Senate unanimously approved a bill banning the import into the United States of many products made in Xinjiang.
More specifically, the Ministries of Commerce and Finance have decided to target Chinese high technology, which is believed to be used to violate the rights of the Uighur Muslim minority in Xinjiang province.
Human rights groups have complained that China is monitoring the minority, mainly through DNA-assisted searches and the use of artificial intelligence to identify individuals.
"Scientific research in biotechnology and medical innovations can save lives. "Unfortunately, the People's Republic of China chooses to use these technologies to control its citizens and oppress members of ethnic and religious minorities," said Gina Raimondo, the US Secretary of Commerce.
Experts, eyewitnesses and the US government report that more than one million Uighurs and other members of Muslim minorities are being held in camps. In addition, China is accused of forcibly sterilizing Uighur women and forcing forced labor on minorities.
The United States has called the campaign a genocide and, citing human rights abuses in China, said it would diplomatically boycott the Beijing Winter Olympics.
China responds that these camps are retraining centers and that, like many Western countries, it is trying to curb the radicalization of Uighurs.
The bill passed in Congress yesterday deals a major blow as it bans the importation of products made entirely or partially into Xinjiang, unless companies can prove to customs that the products do not come from forced labor.
Xinjiang is a major exporter of cotton. The Workers Rights Consortium estimates that 20% of clothing imported into the United States each year contains materials from this Chinese province.
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