US warns companies over Xinjiang business, urges exit | Human Rights News

The joint statement warns of “growing evidence” of forced labor and due diligence challenges.

The United States has warned of high risks for companies doing business in Xinjiang, where they accuse Beijing of an “ongoing” genocide“And‘ crimes against humanity ’against Uighurs and other predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities, warning companies could be subject to persecution under US law.

In an updated trade announcement released Tuesday, the United States said there was “growing evidence” of forced labor, as well as other human rights abuses and “intrusive” surveillance.

“Given the severity and extent of these abuses, businesses and individuals outside the supply chains, businesses and / or investments connected to Xinjiang could run a high risk of violating U.S. law. , ”the State Department said in a joint statement with the Treasury, Commerce Department, Department of Homeland Security. The U.S. Department of Labor and the Office of the Trade Representative also signed on to the board for the first time.

The UN estimates that at least one million people have been detained in recent years in a network of rehabilitation camps in the far-western region, which Beijing says are vocational training centers. necessary to combat “extremism.”

Researchers have also documented other abuses including forced sterilization, demolition of mosques, liquidation of Muslim cemeteries and separation of families. Amnesty International last month accused China of creating a “dystopian hellscape“In Xinjiang.

The council says those who want to do business in Xinjiang should be aware of the potential risks in connection with the development of surveillance tools, the supply of goods and labor from Xinjiang – or elsewhere along the supply chain in China – providing American products including software or assistance in the construction or operation of internment centers or nearby factories.

“The United States will continue to promote accountability for the atrocities of the PRC and other abuses through a government-wide effort and in close coordination with the private sector and our allies and partners.” Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said in a statement.

Uighuri protested in front of the US State Department in May, urging the international community to take action against China’s policies in the western region of Xinjiang [File: Leah Millis/Reuters]

The council noted the lack of transparency, but ordered companies to do “increased” diligence, warning that there was a risk of prosecution for those who are – even indirectly – in support of the Chinese government’s oversight system in the region or provide financial support to businesses linked to human rights abuses.

All companies with existing investments and commercial operations that could be affected should consider “responsible divestment,” he added.

The United States has already blacklisted several Chinese companies for their operations in Xinjiang, as well as imposed sanctions on top officials for alleged rights abuses.

At least 10 more Chinese companies are expected to emerge added to the blacklist this week.

The United States first published the Xinjiang Supply Chain Business Council in July last year.

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