US warns businesses of heightened risks on China's Xinjiang province

US warns businesses of heightened risks on China's Xinjiang province
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The State Department on Tuesday warned Americans against conducting business with anyone connected to China’s Xinjiang province over alleged human rights abuses and genocide by the Chinese Communist Party against the region's Uyghur Muslims and other ethnic minorities.

The 36-page “Xinjiang Supply Chain Business Advisory” renews the warning first issued in July 2020 by the Trump administration, declaring that the Chinese government is committing genocide and crimes against humanity against minority religious and ethnic groups in the northeast of the country. 

The report warns that the Chinese government’s atrocities against the Uyghur population are so extensive, American businesses and individuals are encouraged to exit “supply chains, ventures and/or investments” connected to Xinjiang or risk breaking U.S. law.  

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“Given the severity and extent of these abuses, including widespread, state-sponsored forced labor and intrusive surveillance taking place amid ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang, 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 report reads. 

The warning comes following the publication on Monday of the State Department’s annual report raising the alarm to prevent and respond to atrocities and genocide and highlighting countries of concern.

The 2021 report reaffirms a declaration made by the Trump administration and supported by Secretary of State Antony BlinkenAntony BlinkenIsraeli official says plans to reopen US mission for Palestinians maybe shelved Overnight Defense & National Security — Presented by Raytheon Technologies — Biden backtracks on Taiwan Nearly 200 Americans want to leave Afghanistan, State Department tells Congress MORE in January that China is committing genocide against minority populations in Xinjiang. 

Atrocities include targeting Uyghur Muslims and other ethnic and religious minority groups with arbitrary imprisonment, torture, forced sterilization and persecution. 

In the “Supply Chain Business Advisory” the Biden administration says detainees in Xinjiang have described conditions in internment camps as including extreme overcrowding, sleep and food deprivation, medical neglect, physical and psychological abuse, torture, forced labor, forced ingestion of unidentified drugs, forced sterilizations and abortions, sexual abuse, forced renunciation of religion, denial of prayer and other religious practices (including pressure to consume pork or alcohol), denial of the use of native languages and forced recitation of Chinese Communist Party propaganda. 

The State Department also writes there are reports that some detainees have died in the internment camps or shortly after their release as a result of abuse and neglect. 

In addition, the State Department raises the risk that the Chinese government’s abuses have spread outside the internment camps and beyond Xinjiang, “with credible reports claiming that victims have been forcibly transferred to other provinces of China and subjected to forced labor and other abusive labor conditions.” 

The Senate is also moving forward on passing the “Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act,” legislation that imposes import restrictions on goods produced by forced labor in Xinjiang and putting the responsibility on businesses and companies looking to import or use the supply-chain in Xinjiang to prove that their products are not produced by forced labor. 

The bill passed out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in June. 

The Chinese government in Beijing denies that it is committing genocide against minority populations in Xinjiang, describing interment camps as “reeducation” and work-training centers meant to counter terrorism and reduce poverty. The Chinese government also accuses the U.S. of meddling in internal Chinese affairs with sanctions against Chinese officials for human rights abuses.