The Chinese government on Friday denounced a US law that restricts imports from Xinjiang as a violation of international law and dismissed complaints of abuses against mostly Muslim minorities in the northwestern region as lies.
President Joe Biden signed the measure Thursday amid mounting tension including appeals by activists for a boycott of February’s Winter Olympics in Beijing. It prohibits US businesses from importing goods from Xinjiang unless they can be proven not to have been made by forced labour.
The measure “maliciously denigrates the human rights situation in China’s Xinjiang in disregard of facts and truth,” said a foreign ministry spokesman, Zhao Lijian.
“It seriously violates international law and basic norms governing international relations and grossly interferes in China’s internal affairs,” Zhao said. “China deplores and firmly rejects this.” Foreign governments and researchers say more than 1 million Uyghurs and other minorities have been confined in camps in Xinjiang in China’s northwest. Chinese officials are accused of using forced abortions, forced labor and mass indoctrination.
Chinese officials reject the accusations and say the camps are meant for job training and to combat radicalism.
The accusations are “vicious lies concocted by anti-China forces,” said Zhao, the spokesman. “Residents of all ethnic groups there enjoy happy and fulfilling lives.” Chinese state media have criticised foreign shoe, clothing and other brands that express concern about Xinjiang and publicized calls for boycotts of their goods.
On Thursday, chipmaker Intel Corp. apologized for asking suppliers to avoid sourcing goods from Xinjiang, a major source of silica used in processor chips. Global Times, a newspaper published by the ruling party, called the company’s request “arrogant and vicious.”