The USA imposed new sanctions on many Chinese biotech and surveillance companies over human rights abuses of Uyghur Muslims in China’s Xinjiang region.
Earlier USA has condemned China for its policies in Xinjiang and has accused Beijing of carrying out genocide. Recently, 43 countries have signed a declaration to support the Muslim Uighur community in Xinjiang. The declaration was signed by the U.S. and other countries accusing China of human rights violations as well as ethnic cleansing against the Uighur Muslims.
U.S. intelligence has established that China has set up a high-tech surveillance system that uses biometric facial recognition and has collected DNA samples from all residents, ages 12 to 65, in Xinjiang as part of a systematic effort to suppress Uyghurs.
The USA is targeting institutions that use biotechnology to support the Chinese military. It will also bar American companies from selling components to several Chinese entities. The USA administration has endorsed legislation that bans imports into the USA from the Xinjiang region if goods are produced by forced labor.
The Uyghurs are a predominantly Muslim minority Turkic ethnic group. They speak a language similar to Turkish and see themselves as culturally and ethnically close to Central Asian nations. Currently, the largest population of the Uighur community lives in the Xinjiang region of China.
Uighur Muslims for decades have suffered from abuses including persecution, forced detention, intense scrutiny, surveillance, and even slavery.
It is also noted the existence of a large network of ‘political re-education camps in the Xinjiang region, where over a million people have been arbitrarily detained.
Over the past few decades, the economic prosperity that has come to Xinjiang has brought the majority of Han Chinese. They have cornered the better jobs and left the Uyghurs feeling their livelihoods and identity under threat.
However, China claims its camps to be ‘educational centers’ where the Uighurs are cured of “extremist thoughts” and radicalization and learn vocational skills.
China claims that Uighur groups want to establish an independent state. Because of the Uyghurs’ cultural ties to their neighbors, China fears that elements like Pakistan may back a separatist movement in Xinjiang. China has denied any abuses and says its steps are necessary to combat terrorism and a separatist movement.
The global community should urge China to stop the persecution of Muslims immediately. It should adopt multiculturalism and accept them as citizens equal to native Chinese.