© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Security forces stand in front of the gates of a center officially known as a vocational training center in Huocheng County in the Uyghur Autonomous Region of Xinjiang, China, September 3, 2018.REUTERS / Thomas Peter / File Photo
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The US government on Tuesday increased its warnings to companies about the growing risks of supply chain and investment links in China’s Xinjiang region, citing forced labor and human rights abuses.
“Given the severity and extent of these abuses, companies and individuals who stay in supply chains, ventures and / or investments related to Xinjiang could be at high risk of violating US law,” a State Department statement said .
The Department of Labor and the U.S. Trade Commissioner signaled greater U.S. government coordination in this area and joined in the issuance of the updated recommendation, first published on July 1, 2020 under the Trump administration by the Departments of State, Commerce, Homeland Security and Security Treasury was published.
The new advisory reinforces the warning to US companies and indicates that they run the risk of violating US law if their activities are even “indirectly” linked to the “large and growing surveillance network” of the Chinese government in Xinjiang . The warning also applies to the provision of financial assistance by venture capital and private equity firms.
It also summarized previously announced measures by the Biden government to combat forced labor and other violations of law in Xinjiang, including a U.S. Customs and Border Protection ban on imports of solar panels from the region and sanctions against companies and facilities in Xinjiang.
The move follows an action on Friday in which the government blacklisted 14 Chinese companies and other entities for alleged human rights abuses and high-tech surveillance in Xinjiang.
The opinion said that China’s government in Xinjiang and elsewhere is continuing “appalling abuses” against Uyghurs, ethnic Kazakhs and ethnic Kyrgyz who are predominantly Muslim, as well as members of other ethnic and religious minority groups.
China denies abuses, saying it has set up vocational training centers in Xinjiang to crack down on religious extremism.
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