Export restrictions are targeted at companies that produce raw materials used in Xinjiang’s solar panel industry.
The United States on Wednesday restricted exports to five Chinese companies that said they were involved in Chinese human rights violations, including large producers of polysilicon for the solar panel industry.
The companies were listed for human rights violations and abuses Uighurs and other Muslim minorities, according to a U.S. government that filed Wednesday. The U.S. Department of Commerce said companies accept or use forced labor.
Among the companies added to the Commerce Department’s list of entities are Hoshine Silicon Industry; Xinjiang Daqo New Energy, a unit of Daqo New Energy Corp; Xinjiang East Hope Nonferrous Metals, a subsidiary of the Shanghai-based manufacturing giant East Hope Group; Xinjiang GCL New Energy Material and Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC).
At least some of the companies are the main manufacturers of monocrystalline silicon and polysilicon that are used production of solar panels.
U.S. officials had suggested that President Joe Biden’s administration was considering restrictions on Chinese solar producers in Xinjiang, where much of the world’s supply of polysilicon used in solar panels comes from.
“I understand that the Biden administration is currently in the process of assessing whether this will be the goal or not sanctions“Biden climate envoy John Kerry told the U.S. House of Representatives in May, referring to Xinjiang’s solar products.
He XPCC was sent to Xinjiang in the 1950s to build farms and settlements. It remains powerful in the energy and agricultural sectors of the region, operating almost like a parallel state.
The US too ban cotton imports of the XPCC in December, citing “slave labor.”
Foreign governments and human rights activists say it has been a force in repression and surveillance of the Uighurs of the region, directing some detention camps. The U.S. Treasury Department last year sanctioned XPCC for “serious abuses of rights against ethnic minorities.”
In March, the U.S. Treasury Department announced sanctions on two more Chinese officials in connection with serious human rights abuses in the Xinjiang region of China, where Washington says ethnic Muslims are victims of genocide. One of the sanctioned officials was Wang Junzheng, secretary of the XPCC Party Committee.
Both the Biden administration and the former administration of former President Donald Trump have taken harsh tones against China’s treatment of Uighurs.
The Trump administration declared China’s conduct in Xinjiang “genocide“In January, shortly before Biden took office.
Biden propelled world leaders take action against forced labor in Xinjiang during its first international trip in April.