China’s Ministry of Commerce has expressed “strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition” to a United States ban on imports from Xinjiang region.
The ministry described the US action as “economic bullying”, state news agency Xinhua reported on Friday.
US President Joe Biden on Thursday signed into law legislation that bans imports from China’s Xinjiang region over concerns about forced labour.
China dismisses accusations of abuses against mostly Muslim Uighur minorities in the northwestern Xinjiang region as lies.
The law prohibits US businesses from importing goods from Xinjiang unless they can be proven not to have been made by forced labour.
The measure “maliciously denigrates the human rights situation in China’s Xinjiang in disregard of facts and truth”, said a Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman, Zhao Lijian.
“It seriously violates international law and basic norms governing international relations and grossly interferes in China’s internal affairs,” Zhao said. “China deplores and firmly rejects this.”
Foreign governments and researchers say more than a million Uighurs and other minorities have been confined in camps in Xinjiang, where Chinese officials are accused of using forced abortions, forced labour and mass indoctrination.
The officials reject the accusations, saying the camps are meant for job training and to combat “radicalism”.
The accusations are “vicious lies concocted by anti-China forces”, said Zhao, the spokesman. “Residents of all ethnic groups there enjoy happy and fulfilling lives.”
Chinese state media have criticised foreign footwear, clothing and other brands that express concern about Xinjiang and publicised calls for boycotts of their goods.
On Thursday, chipmaker Intel Corp apologised for asking suppliers to avoid sourcing goods from Xinjiang, a major source of silica used in processor chips.
The Global Times, a newspaper published by the ruling party, called the company’s request “arrogant and vicious”.