China responds to U.S. bill taking aim at regime for alleged forced labor in Xinjiang province

FILE - President Joe Biden listens as he meets virtually with Chinese President Xi Jinping from the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington,Nov. 15, 2021. The Biden administration announced on Thursday that it is levying new sanctions against several Chinese biotech and surveillance companies operating out of Xinjiang province, casting another shot at Beijing over human rights abuses against Uyghurs in western China. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

President Joe Biden listens as he meets virtually with Chinese President Xi Jinping from the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, Nov. 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

UPDATED 12:36 PM PT – Saturday, December 17, 2021

The Chinese Communist Party responded to a bill passed by U.S. lawmakers that placed sanctions on the regime for its treatment of Uyghur minorities in its Xinjiang region. On Friday, a CCP spokesperson called on the U.S. to peel back sanctions, adding China wouldn’t be afraid to retaliate.

“U.S. actions have seriously undermined the principles of market economy and international economic and trade rules, seriously harmed the interests of Chinese organizations and companies. Beijing is strongly dissatisfied and resolutely opposes the actions,” said spokesperson Wang Wenbin. “We urge the United States to immediately rectify its mistaken ways. China will take all necessary measures to resolutely safeguard the legitimate rights of Chinese organizations and companies.”

China has long faced accusations it has sanctioned forced sterilizations and abortions, torture, slave labor and mass sexual assault in concentration camps in Xinjiang. On Thursday, the Senate unanimously passed a law putting sanctions on dozens of Chinese entities over their alleged complicity in the repression of mostly Muslim Uyghur minorities.

Under the law, U.S. businesses will be barred from selling goods to such entities unless they are granted a license to do so. Further, Americans will be barred from buying public securities connected to those companies.

Speaking about the bill, one of its authors, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (R), said this was an important step in making it clear that the U.S. would not fund or support the CCP in its efforts to oppress the minority group.

“They’ll no longer make Americans, every one of us frankly, unwitting accomplices in the atrocities in the genocide being committed by the Chinese Communist Party,” said Rubio.

While it enjoyed wide bipartisan support in both the House and Senate, Congress’ bill faced pushback from lobbyists for major corporations including Nike, Coca-Cola and Apple. They argued the sanctions would severely impact production of their products and would negatively effect the economy.

Globally, one in five cotton-based garments are made from cotton grown in Xinjiang. The region is also known for supplying large amounts of polysilicon, which is used in smartphones and solar panels.

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