China vows a response to U.S. sanctions over Xinjiang
by Associated Press
Biden announced new sanctions on Dec. 16 that target several Chinese biotech and surveillance companies, a leading drone manufacturer and government entities.
China will take all necessary measures to safeguard its institutions and enterprises, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Dec. 17 after the U.S. Senate passed a law barring imports from the Xinjiang region unless businesses can prove they were made without forced labor.
The spokesman, Wang Wenbin, said the measure approved on Dec. 16 “indicates that the U.S. has no scruples about smearing China by every means.”
“The relevant actions seriously undermine the principles of market economy and international economic and trade rules, and seriously damage the interests of Chinese institutions and enterprises,” Wang told reporters at a daily briefing.
“China strongly deplores and rejects that and urges the U.S. to immediately correct its mistake. China will take all necessary measures to resolutely safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese institutions and enterprises,” Wang said without elaborating.
The law is the latest U.S. penalty over China’s alleged systemic and widespread abuse of ethnic and religious minorities in its far western region, especially Xinjiang’s predominantly Muslim Uyghurs.
President Joe Biden is expected to sign the law after overcoming initial hesitation from the White House and what supporters said was opposition from corporations. He also announced new sanctions on Dec. 16 that target several Chinese biotech and surveillance companies, a leading drone manufacturer and government entities for their actions in Xinjiang.
Despite numerous independent investigations finding forced sterilization and large detention camps where many Uyghurs allegedly are compelled to work in factories, China has denounced all such claims as the “lie of the century.”
It portrays them as part of an effort to stifle China’s growth and damage its reputation. China at first denied the prison-like camps exist but later said they were voluntary centers for job training and de-radicalization. It now says all “students” have graduated.
“The U.S. government is trying to strangle the economy of Xinjiang through its industrial and supply chains under the false pretexts of ‘forced labor’ and ‘violations of human rights,’ the official Xinhua News Agency said on Dec. 17, citing a report by the Institute for Central Asia Studies under Lanzhou University in northwestern Gansu province.
The U.S. says raw cotton, gloves, tomato products, silicon, fishing gear and a range of solar energy components are among goods allegedly made with help from forced labor.
Xinjiang is a resource-rich mining region, important for both agricultural production and manufacturing. Detainees also are sometimes transferred from Xinjiang to work in factories elsewhere, making clothing and textiles, electronics, solar energy equipment and car parts, the U.S. says.
China vowed “resolute countermeasures” over the boycott, but has given no indication of how it plans to respond.