Jessica Goodfellow
Jul 21, 2020

Apple iPhone supplier among Chinese firms blacklisted over treatment of Uighurs

Textile and technology manufacturers called out by the US government supply several major brands.

A photo taken from a housing compound in Yangisar, south of Kashgar, in China's western Xinjiang region. (Getty Images)
A photo taken from a housing compound in Yangisar, south of Kashgar, in China's western Xinjiang region. (Getty Images)

The US has added 11 more Chinese companies to its economic blacklist—including textile and technology manufacturers that supply major brands from Apple to Ralph Lauren—over alleged mistreatment of Uighurs in Xinjiang.

The US Commerce Department said on Monday (July 20) that the firms were "implicated in human rights violations and abuses", specifically related to the forced labour and involuntary collection of biometric data and genetic analyses of Uighurs and other Muslim minority groups.

They include nine textile and technology manufacturing companies involved in what the goverment said was forced labour, and two firms the government said were conducting genetic analyses used to "further the repression" of Uighurs and other Muslim minorities.

One of the companies, Nanchang O-Film Tech, supplies technology to Apple, Amazon and Microsoft. Another, Changji Esquel Textile Co, is owned by Esquel Group, which produces clothing for Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger and Hugo Boss. Esquel Group has denied using forced labour.

Firms that have been blacklisted by the US goverment cannot buy components from US companies without US government approval.

The US Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross, said: “Beijing actively promotes the reprehensible practice of forced labor and abusive DNA collection and analysis schemes to repress its citizens."

"This action will ensure that our goods and technologies are not used in the Chinese Communist Party’s despicable offensive against defenseless Muslim minority populations," Ross added.

In May, the US goverment added nine parties, including China’s Ministry of Public Security’s Institute of Forensic Science and eight Chinese companies, to the 'entity list' over the same violations related to the Uighur population. At the same time, the US also added 24 Chinese governmental and commercial organisations to the blacklist that were deemed to pose national security risks.

The Chinese foreign ministry criticised the US entity list additions, arguing the US "overstretched the concept of national security, abused export control measures, violated the basic norms governing international relations, interfered in China's internal affairs".

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