On July 20, 2020, the United States Department of Commerce (DOC) barred eleven Chinese businesses from purchasing American products and technology without a license from the federal government. In a press release, the DOC declared that these companies were complicit with human rights violations and abuses in the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) campaign against muslim minority groups in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR).
The PRC has long seen the preservation of internal order in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region as key to its overall success. As such, it has devoted an immense amount of time and resources to squashing groups that may interfere with or go against the goals of the state. It is believed that as many as 900,000 Uyghurs, ethnic Kazakhs, and other minorities have been sent to 're-education camps' since the start of the de facto anti-minority campaign. This campaign has been aided by Chinese tech conglomerates who have developed biometric platforms, surveillance infrastructure, and data storage banks.
In this case, the eleven companies sanctioned by the Department of Commerce assisted in the practice of forced labor involving Uyghurs and other Muslim minority groups or conducted genetic analyses without the approval of muslim patients.
Each of the afore mentioned conglomerates have previously supplied or currently work with high profile multi-national corporations, such as Ralph Lauren, Google, Hugo Boss, and Apple. The Chinese province of Xinjiang has proven to be a major source of textiles, chemicals, cotton, and materials, and as such, is a major part of the supply chains of both Chinese and western production facilities. The PRC has used a significant portion of the 900,000 individuals in re-education camps for production or hard work in either factories or farms.
Yesterday's action by the DOC prevents American businesses from selling technology or products to certain Chinese companies without a government license, not from purchasing products. However, US firms will most likely cease doing any transactions with a company on a US government blacklist for fear of negative press or future crackdowns.
To learn more about the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Xinjiang, The Intelligence Ledger recommends visiting the website of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.