On Tuesday, the Biden administration stepped up its warnings against US companies doing business in China’s Xinjiang region. The State Department and five other federal agencies released a new advisory that said companies with supply chains in Xinjiang are at risk of breaking US law.
The US accuses China of forced labor practices in Xinjiang and claims Beijing is carrying out a genocide against the Uyghur Muslim population. The advisory says due to these alleged abuses, “businesses and individuals that do not exit supply chains, ventures and/or investments connected to Xinjiang could run a high risk of violating US law.”
The claim that China is committing genocide against the Uyghurs was first made by former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in the final days of the Trump administration. The determination was quickly reaffirmed by Secretary of State Antony Blinken. China denies the accusation, and there are reasons to doubt the US’s claims of genocide.
The designation of genocide in Xinjiang relies largely on claims of forced sterilization from a paper by German researcher Adrien Zenz. A report from The Grayzone that took a close look at Zenz’s work found the paper relied on data manipulation and fraudulent claims to reach its conclusion.
It’s tough to know what’s happening in Xinjiang, but the incendiary claims from the US are a transparent effort to advance Washington’s interest and ramp up the pressure on Beijing. The US has slapped sanctions on Chinese officials and companies over the claims and has banned cotton and tomato imports from Xinjiang.