US warns Xinjiang business companies and urges exit | Human Rights News


A joint statement warns of “growing evidence” of forced labor and due diligence challenges.

The United States has warned of increased risks for companies doing business in Xinjiang, where it accuses Beijing of a “continuation” genocide“And“ crimes against humanity ”against Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities, mostly Muslims, warning companies could be prosecuted under U.S. law.

In an updated business advisory released Tuesday, the U.S. said there was “growing evidence” of forced labor, as well as other human rights abuses and “intrusive” surveillance.

“Given the seriousness and extent of these abuses, companies and individuals outside the supply chains, companies and / or investments related to Xinjiang could be at high risk of violating state law. United States, “the State Department said in a joint statement with the Treasury, Commerce Department, Department of Homeland Security. The U.S. Department of Labor and the Office of the Trade Representative also signed the notice for the first time.

The United Nations estimates that at least one million people have been retained in a network of re-education camps in the far-west region in recent years, which Beijing says are vocational training centers. necessary to combat “extremism.”

Investigators have also documented other abuses, including forced sterilization, the demolition of mosques, the liquidation of Muslim cemeteries and family separations. Amnesty International last month accused China of creating a “dystopian infernal landscape“Xinjiang.

The advisor says those who want to do business in Xinjiang should be aware of the potential risks associated with the development of surveillance tools, obtaining goods and labor in Xinjiang (or other places in Xinjiang). supply chain in China) providing U.S. products, including software or assisting in the construction or operation of internment centers or nearby factories.

“The United States will continue to promote accountability for atrocities and other abuses in the PRC through a government-wide effort and in close coordination with the private sector and our allies and partners.” Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said in a statement.

Uighurs protest in front of the US State Department in May, urging the international community to take action against China’s policies in the far west of the Xinjiang region [File: Leah Millis/Reuters]

The adviser noted the lack of transparency, but urged companies to carry out “intensified” due diligence, warning that there was a risk of prosecution for those who were, even indirectly, to support the system. surveillance by the Chinese government in the region or to provide financial support to companies. linked to human rights abuses.

All companies with existing investments and business operations that may be affected should be considered a “responsible divestment,” he added.

The United States has already blacklisted several Chinese companies for their operations in Xinjiang, in addition to imposing sanctions on key officials for alleged rights abuses.

It is expected that there will be at least ten more Chinese companies added to blacklist this week.

The United States first published Xinjiang supply chain business advice in July last year.

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