On Monday, the United States and its allies the United Kingdom, Canada, and the European Union announced sanctions against numerous Chinese officials with alleged links to what the U.S. has deemed “genocide” against Uighur Muslims.
The coordinated international sanctions, which were first reported by Politico, prompted denouncement and some immediate retaliatory sanctions from China.
“Amid growing international condemnation, the [People’s Republic of China] continues to commit genocide and crimes against humanity” in the northwest Xinjiang region, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement. “The United States reiterates its calls on the PRC to bring an end to the repression of Uyghurs, who are predominantly Muslim, and members of other ethnic and religious minority groups in Xinjiang, including by releasing all those arbitrarily held in internment camps and detention facilities.”
“These actions demonstrate our ongoing commitment to working multilaterally to advance respect for human rights and shining a light on those in the PRC government and [Chinese Communist Party] responsible for these atrocities,” Blinken added.
According to statements from Blinken and the U.S. Treasury Department, the U.S. sanctions targeted two people: Wang Junzheng, the secretary of the Party Committee of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC), and Chen Mingguo, director of the Xinjiang Public Security Bureau (XPSB).
During a Monday press conference, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying called the United States’ Xinjiang-related actions “absurdity,” however, he did not directly address the Treasury’s actions.
“I think Xinjiang-related issues are not about the treatment of the Uyghurs, but about lies and truth. It’s nothing short of absurdity that the U.S. side bases its accusations against China on lies and rumors,” Hua said. “The door to Xinjiang is always open. We welcome all, including US personnel, who really want to know Xinjiang’s development to visit the region, but we firmly oppose any condescending presumption of guilt.”
According to the Treasury, the XPCC is a paramilitary organization that “enhances internal control over the region by advancing China’s vision of economic development in [Xinjiang] that emphasizes subordination to central planning and resource extraction.”
“Since at least late 2016, repressive tactics have been used by the XPSB against the Uyghurs and members of other ethnic minorities in the region, including mass detentions and surveillance,” the Treasury added.
Both the XPSB and the XPCC have already been sanctioned by the United States, as Politico noted. According to the U.S. announcement, Wang and Chen are being sanctioned under the Global Magnitsky Act, meaning that assets they might have in the U.S. are frozen and Americans are barred from engaging in business with them.
Monday morning, the E.U. announced sanctions against four Chinese officials involved in the internment of hundreds of thousands of Uighurs, including Wang and Chen. In retaliation, the Chinese government sanctioned 10 individuals and four entities in Europe that it argues “severely harm China’s sovereignty and interests and maliciously spread lies and disinformation.”
The E.U. sanctions, according to Politico, are believed to be the first from the union to punish China on human rights since the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre.
At the same time, Canada announced it is sanctioning four individuals and one entity, although a press release did not name those targets.
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.
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U.S. Commerce Department: Chinese firms are supplying Russian entities
On Tuesday, the United States Commerce Department said several companies in China are supplying Russia’s military. The announcement was made alongside a “new round of blacklist restrictions for foreign firms aiding Moscow’s war against Ukraine” reports National Review.
“These entities have previously supplied items to Russian entities of concern before February 24, 2022 and continue to contract to supply Russian entity listed and sanctioned parties after Russia’s further invasion of Ukraine,” stated an official Commerce Department notice posted to the Federal Register.
“Commerce also blacklisted several Chinese companies and Chinese government research institutes for their work on naval-technology and supplying Iran with U.S. tech in a way that harms America’s national security” adds National Review.
Six companies that are helping further the Russian invasion are also based in Lithuania, Russia, the U.K., Uzbekistan, and Vietnam.
National Review reports:
The Commerce Department stopped short of blaming the Chinese government for the sanctions-evasion activity it identified today. Commerce secretary Gina Raimondo previously said that there doesn’t appear to be any “systemic efforts by China to go around our export controls.” The Biden administration has publicly and privately warned Beijing against supporting the Russian war, with White House officials even leaking to the press about an effort to present China’s ambassador in Washington with information about Russian troop movements ahead of the invasion.
While Beijing has not expressed outright support for the invasion, it has used its propaganda networks to back Moscow’s narrative. Meanwhile, top Chinese and Russian officials have moved to solidify the “no-limits” partnership they declared in early February. General secretary Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin held a call this month, marking the construction of a new bridge between their two countries, during which they reiterated their support for the burgeoning geopolitical alignment.
National-security adviser Jake Sullivan said last month that the U.S. has no indications that Beijing has provided Russia with military equipment. A Finnish think tank, the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air, estimated on June 12 that Chinese imports of Russian oil since the outset of the conflict have amounted to $13 billion, making China the biggest consumer of the country’s oil exports. Previously, it was Germany. “While Germany cut back on purchases since the start of the war, China’s oil and gas imports from Russia rose in February and remained at a roughly constant level since,” the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission noted.
Official advisor Anton Gerashchenko tweeted incredible video of Ukrainian soldiers sweeping through fields, writing “this is how our fields are de-mined so that farmers can harvest crops.” On Monday a Russian missile struck a mall in Kremenchuk, Ukraine, where over 1,000 civilians were inside.
“Almost two dozen people were still missing Tuesday one day after a Russian airstrike struck a Ukrainian shopping mall and killed 18 civilians inside…On top of the 18 dead and 21 people missing, Ukrainian Interior Minster Denis Monastyrsky said 59 were injured. Several of the dead were burned beyond recognition” reported the New York Post.
— Anton Gerashchenko (@Gerashchenko_en) June 28, 2022
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