File photo: People hold signs protesting China's treatment of the Uighur people, outside of British Columbia Supreme Court building in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, May 8, 2019. Photograph:( Reuters )
Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced the move said the United States "cannot and will not tolerate the brutal suppression of ethnic minorities within China."
The US Commerce Department announced Monday it is blacklisting 28 Chinese entities that it says are implicated in rights violations and abuses targeting Uighurs and other mostly Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang region.
Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced the move, which bars the named entities from purchasing US products, saying the United States "cannot and will not tolerate the brutal suppression of ethnic minorities within China."
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According to an update to the US Federal Register set to be published Wednesday, the blacklisted firms included video surveillance company Hikvision, as well as artificial intelligence companies Megvii Technology and SenseTime.
Rights groups say China has detained around one million Uighurs and other Muslims in re-education camps in the western Xinjiang region in a step Washington says is reminiscent of Nazi Germany.
China had until recently denied the camps existed but now claims they are "vocational training schools" necessary to control terrorism while decrying interference in its "internal affairs."
The US move came after Washington banned technology giant Huawei and other Chinese firms from government contracts, amid the trade war between the two countries.