China vows retaliation after US blacklists companies

Business

FILE – In this Feb. 22, 2021, file photo, a woman wearing a face mask to help curb the spread of the coronavirus sits near a screen showing China and U.S. flags as she listens to a speech at the Lanting Forum at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs office in Beijing. Senior Chinese foreign policy adviser Yang Jiechi and Secretary of State Antony Blinken held a phone call Friday, June 11, 2021 that revealed wide divisions in a number of contentious areas including the curtailing of freedoms in Hong Kong and the mass detention of Muslims in the northwestern Xinjiang region. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)

BEIJING (AP) — China on Sunday said it will take “necessary measures” to respond to the U.S. blacklisting of Chinese companies over their alleged role in abuses of Uyghur people and other Muslim ethnic minorities.

The Commerce Ministry said the U.S. move constituted an “unreasonable suppression of Chinese enterprises and a serious breach of international economic and trade rules.”

China will “take necessary measures to firmly safeguard Chinese companies’ legitimate rights and interests,” the ministry’s statement said.

No details were given, but China has denied allegations of arbitrary detention and forced labor in the far western region of Xinjiang and increasingly responded to sanctions against companies and officials with its own bans on visas and financial links.

The U.S. Commerce Department said in a statement Friday that the electronics and technology firms and other businesses helped enable “Beijing’s campaign of repression, mass detention and high-technology surveillance” against Muslim minorities in Xinjiang.

The penalties prohibit Americans from selling equipment or other goods to the firms. The United States has stepped up financial and trade penalties over China’s treatment of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities, along with its crackdown on democracy in the semi-autonomous city of Hong Kong.

The Chinese government since 2017 has detained a million or more people in Xinjiang. Critics accuse China of operating forced labor camps and carrying out torture and coerced sterilization as it allegedly seeks to assimilate Muslim ethnic minority groups.

The U.S. Commerce Department said 14 companies were added to its Entity List over their dealings in Xinjiang, and another five for aiding China’s armed forces.

“The Department of Commerce remains firmly committed to taking strong, decisive action to target entities that are enabling human rights abuses in Xinjiang or that use U.S. technology to fuel China’s destabilizing military modernization efforts,” Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said in a statement posted on the department’s website.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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