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U.S., major allies sanction China for Uighur ‘genocide’

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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.

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“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.”

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“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.

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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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Husband of Biden’s Commerce Secretary is Top Executive at Firm Funded by Chinese Government

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Gina Raimondo
Gina Raimondo

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo has a conflict of interest. She must work with her agency to combat and counter China on the world stage, all while supporting her husband’s position as a top executive for an artificial intelligence company whose major venture capital firm investor Is backed by the Chinese government.

Danhua Capital is based in California and is financially backed by the Chinese Communist Party. They are also one of the main funders of PathAI, an artificial intelligence firm that employs Raimondo’s husband, Andy Moffit. Moffit acts as the chief people officer.

The Chinese firm lists PathAI as one of its featured “biotech and health” investments on its website, although it’s unclear how much specifically Danhua Capital has invested. According to a 2018 Reuters report on the firm, Danhua Capital was established and funded as part of the Chinese government’s “penetration of Silicon Valley.”

In 2018, the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) testified before Congress that Danhua Capital’s mission is to use capital to narrow the technology gap between China and the United States. The Washington Free Beacon reports that many staffers from CNAS, a liberal think tank, are now employed in the highest ranks of the Biden administration.

The Washington Free Beacon reports:

The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that Raimondo’s agency was pushing back on efforts by others in the Biden administration to block Chinese technology firms from working with American companies. Commerce officials are arguing internally, according to the report, that the administration’s tougher approach to China would hurt U.S. companies.

Raimondo said on Thursday she would not urge U.S. companies to pull sponsorships from the upcoming Beijing Olympics after President Joe Biden announced a diplomatic boycott of the games over human rights abuses. “What individual companies do is entirely up to them,” Raimondo said. “We’re not going to pressure them one way or another.”

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