BEIJING – Beijing has expressed its firm opposition to Washington adding 28 Chinese organizations and companies to its blacklist over their alleged involvement in abuses against Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in Xinjiang province.
“The Chinese side is strongly dissatisfied with and firmly opposed to (interference in Chinese affairs),” a Ministry of Commerce spokesperson said, according to state news agency Xinhua on Wednesday.
The fresh measures by the US escalated tensions ahead of the resumption of Washington-Beijing trade dispute dialog which is to take place on Thursday.
The US is expected to put in force fresh tariffs on Chinese goods in a few weeks.
The ministry also told Washington to stop making irresponsible remarks on Xinjiang, where the people of all ethnic groups live in harmony, society is stable, and no terrorist attacks have happened in the past three years, Xinhua said.
It urged the US to remove Chinese entities from the blacklist including Hikvision, Dahua Technology and Megvii Technology, dedicated to facial recognition technology, and the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region People’s Government Public Security Bureau along with 19 other state entities depending on it.
The Chinese embassy in Washington criticized on Wednesday the imposition of visa restrictions on Chinese officials for their alleged involvement in “abuses” against Uighurs in Xinjiang, adding that the step violates the basic norms of international relations.
A spokesperson in the statement said that the allegations were pretexts to interfere in the internal affairs of China.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused China on Tuesday of carrying out a highly repressive campaign against Uighurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz and other Muslim minorities in the autonomous region of Xinjiang.
The US secretary of state cited, “mass detentions in internment camps; pervasive, high-tech surveillance; draconian controls on expressions of cultural and religious identities; and coercion of individuals to return from abroad to an often perilous fate in China.”
The visa restrictions will be placed on Chinese government and Communist Party officials who are believed to be involved in the abuses.
According to reports from international human rights organizations, the Chinese government has confined around 2 million people – mostly Uighurs – in Xinjiang “re-education” camps.