The United States imposed sanctions on individuals and agencies linked to human rights violations committed by the regimes in China, North Korea, Myanmar and Bangladesh. It also added another Chinese company to the investment blacklist, Reuters reported.
U.S. authorities on Friday, Dec. 10, issued financial sanctions and visa bans on a wide range of entities and officials, including members of the Chinese Communist Party involved in the supression of ethnic and religious minorities.
On the other hand, it added to an investment blacklist the Chinese artificial intelligence company, SenseTime group, accused of having developed facial recognition software used in the persecution of Uighurs, a predominantly Muslim ethnic group in the Xinjiang area.
China’s embassy in Washington was quick to come out and condemn the move, saying it represented “serious interference in China’s internal affairs” and a “severe violation of basic norms governing international relations.” Liu Pengyu, the embassy spokesman, warned Washington to reverse the decision or the move would cause “serious damage to China-U.S. relations.”
The Chinese regime routinely denies abuses, but several human rights groups and agencies claim there is sufficient evidence of genocide against various minorities, including Uighurs, Tibetans and Falun Dafa practitioners, including forced organ harvesting for sale in the lucrative transplant market.
With regard to the sanctions on Myanmar, which were also joined by Canada and the United Kingdom, the US Treasury targeted two military entities, one of which manufactures weapons that were used in the bloody repression against opponents of the February 1 coup d’état.
In addition, it sanctioned an organization that provides reserves for the army of the country in conflict and 4 regional chiefs, including the Chief Minister of the Bago Region Government, Myo Swe Win, where, according to the US, more than 80 people were killed in April in one day.
Meanwhile Canada imposed sanctions on 4 entities affiliated with Myanmar’s military government, and the UK imposed sanctions against the military.
U.S. Treasury Undersecretary Wally Adeyemo said in a statement, “Our actions today, particularly those in partnership with the United Kingdom and Canada, send a message that democracies around the world will act against those who abuse the power of the state to inflict suffering and repression.”
The action was taken on the occasion of Human Rights Day, and are the latest U.S. sanctions timed to coincide with U.S. President Joe Biden’s two-day Democracy Summit.
In a separate set of actions announced in a statement by Secretary of State Antony Blinken, the State Department barred 12 officials and former officials from six countries – Uganda, China, Belarus, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Mexico – from entering the U.S., citing the “Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriation Act” of 2021.
That law states “that in cases where there is credible information that officials of foreign governments have been involved in a gross violation of human rights or significant corruption, those individuals and their immediate family members are to be designated publicly or privately and are ineligible for entry into the United States,” the Secretary of State wrote.
“We are determined to put human rights at the center of our foreign policy, and we reaffirm this commitment by using appropriate tools and authorities to draw attention to and promote accountability for human rights violations and abuses, no matter where they occur,” Blinken said.