China urged US officials Monday to undo new sanctions against nearly three dozen companies amid growing tensions between the two nations.
The demand came three days after the US Department of Commerce blacklisted more than 30 Chinese firms and government enterprises with alleged links to China’s military activities and human-rights abuses.
Washington “violated the basic norms governing international relations” by adding organizations to its “Entity List” restricting American companies from doing business with them, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said at a news conference.
“We urge the US to correct its mistake, rescind the relevant decision, and stop interfering in China’s internal affairs,” Zhao said, according to a transcript the ministry released.
“China will continue to take all necessary measures to protect the legitimate rights and interests of the Chinese enterprises and safeguard China’s sovereignty, security and development interests.”
The Department of Commerce did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The agency blacklisted eight Chinese firms and China’s Ministry of Public Security’s Institute of Forensic Science over their alleged roles in the mass detention and surveillance of Uighur Muslims and other Muslim minorities. The feds called them “complicit in human rights violations and abuses” in China’s northwestern Xinjiang region.
Another 24 companies and government organizations went on the list because there’s a risk they could support the procurement of items for military use in China, according to the department.
Some blacklisted companies joined the Chinese Communist Party in slamming the feds’ decision. Aksu Huafu Textiles Co. — which the Department of Commerce accused of human-rights violations — said the move “recklessly disregards facts,” while software supplier Qihoo 360 said the agency was “politicizing business.”
The move came amid growing tensions between Washington and Beijing over China’s handling of the coronavirus crisis and its crackdown on Hong Kong, which has been roiled by pro-democracy protests in recent months. President Trump suggested in a recent interview that he could “cut off the whole relationship” with China as relations soured.
The Department of Commerce also blacklisted Chinese tech giant Huawei last year over national security concerns, a move the Chinese Communist Party criticized at the time.
With Post wires