Washington has its sights set on China's long-rumored ethnic cleansing of the Muslim minority Uighur population amid the continued Trump administration sanctions pile on.
Early this week the US Commerce Department added eleven Chinese companies to its economic black list, citing human rights violations in the Uighur-dominant region of western Xinjiang.
Specifically the ban on US companies doing business with the eleven Chinese firms arises from allegations they are using Chinese Muslims in forced labor situations.
[THREAD] Chinese companies are using Uighur labor to make P.P.E. as the Covid19 pandemic drives up demand. We spent months investigating how the supply chain is connected with a highly controversial labor program. We even traced some masks to the U.S.— Muyi Xiao (@muyixiao) July 19, 2020
👉 https://t.co/e5oz643q5a pic.twitter.com/Y9SFmEgRGc
The announcement of the new economic blacklist followed a weekend New York Times report which detailed Uighurs being used as essentially slave labor to make Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The Times report detailed that "several Chinese companies are using Uighur labor from a contentious government program to produce P.P.E. during the pandemic."
Some of the equipment even made it to the United States, as well as other buyers around the globe.
In addition to widespread allegations of forced labor, in some instanced Uighurs are being allegedly used as unwilling human subjects in genetic research, as Reuters reports:
Among them are numerous textile companies and two firms the government said were conducting genetic analyses used to further the repression of Uighurs and other Muslim minorities.
It was the third group of companies and institutions in China added to the U.S. blacklist, after two rounds in which the Trump administration cited 37 entities it said were involved in China’s repression in Xinjiang.
“Beijing actively promotes the reprehensible practice of forced labor and abusive DNA collection and analysis schemes to repress its citizens,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement.
In another ghastly example, one company is said to be mass collecting human hair from Uighur prisoners to use in wig products:
Also on the banned roster is Hetian Haolin Hair Accessories Co. On May 1, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said it was halting imports of the company’s hair products, citing evidence of forced labor.
On July 1, CBP seized in Newark a shipment of almost 13 tons of hair products worth over $800,000 with human hair that it said originated in Xinjiang.
The NYT story was released just as newly resurfaced footage allegedly showing bound and blindfolded Chinese Muslims being loaded onto train cars went viral.
China's foreign ministry rejected the allegations and urged the US to "correct its mistakes" alongside similar calls to the UK, which is increasingly lockstep in waging a pressure campaign against Beijing.