US Research Firm and Two Individuals Face Sanctions from China for Reports on Xinjiang Human Rights Issues

by Joshua Brown
Xinjiang Sanctions

The Chinese government has imposed sanctions on a US-based research firm and two analysts, citing their extensive reporting on alleged human rights violations against Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in Xinjiang, a region in the country’s northwest.

Mao Ning, a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, declared that Kharon, a research and data analytics company based in Los Angeles, its Director of Investigations Edmund Xu, and Nicole Morgret, a human rights analyst with the Center for Advanced Defense Studies, are prohibited from entering China. Additionally, any assets they hold in China will be frozen, and Chinese entities and individuals are forbidden from engaging in transactions or cooperation with them.

This announcement follows the publication of a US government annual report on human rights in Xinjiang. The Uyghurs and other ethnic groups in the region, who share cultural, linguistic, and religious ties with Central Asian communities, have long opposed the oppressive policies and assimilation attempts by the Chinese Communist Party towards the majority Han population.

Nicole Morgret’s June 2022 report highlighted the Chinese government’s strategy to industrialize the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), compelling corporations to set up manufacturing bases there. This policy, she argues, is central to Beijing’s plan to forcibly assimilate Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples through coerced labor practices.

These reports are often based on diverse sources, including independent media, non-governmental organizations, and groups funded by commercial or governmental grants.

China, however, consistently refutes these accusations, claiming that the extensive network of detention centers, which held hundreds of thousands of Muslim citizens, was solely for de-radicalization and vocational training. Ex-detainees, however, recount severe conditions without legal justification, including being forced to renounce their culture and extol President Xi Jinping and the Communist Party.

Despite China’s assertion that these camps are now closed, many former detainees are reportedly serving long prison sentences elsewhere. The region remains heavily guarded, restricting access for journalists, diplomats, and limiting the movement of Uyghurs, Kazaks, and other Muslim minorities.

Mao Ning accused the US of spreading falsehoods about Xinjiang and unjustly sanctioning Chinese officials and businesses over supposed human rights issues. Mao warned of reciprocal measures if the US does not alter its approach.

The US has imposed visa restrictions and various sanctions on numerous Chinese and Hong Kong officials, including China’s former defense minister, whose disappearance remains unexplained. The replacement of China’s foreign minister without disclosure has sparked rumors of a potential purge by Xi Jinping of officials deemed disloyal or colluding with foreign entities.

Since the implementation of a strict national security law in 2019, Hong Kong has seen significant restrictions on free speech and democracy, following large-scale protests against the government.

Neither Xu nor Morgret were available for immediate comment, and their exact ties to the US government, if any, remain unclear.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Xinjiang Sanctions

What US entities and individuals have been sanctioned by China over Xinjiang reports?

China has imposed sanctions on the Los Angeles-based research and data analytics firm Kharon, its director of investigations, Edmund Xu, and Nicole Morgret, a human rights analyst affiliated with the Center for Advanced Defense Studies, due to their extensive reporting on alleged human rights abuses in Xinjiang.

What are the reasons behind China’s sanctions on the US research firm and analysts?

The sanctions are in response to their reports on human rights violations against Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in Xinjiang, and as a retaliatory measure against the US government’s annual report on the human rights situation in this region.

What are the specific measures taken by China against these sanctioned entities?

China has barred Edmund Xu, Nicole Morgret, and representatives of Kharon from entering the country. Additionally, any assets they have in China will be frozen, and Chinese individuals and organizations are prohibited from conducting any transactions or cooperations with them.

What does the US government’s report on Xinjiang allege?

The US government’s report alleges human rights abuses committed against Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in Xinjiang, including the use of forced labor and attempts to assimilate these groups with the majority Han ethnic population.

How has China responded to allegations of human rights abuses in Xinjiang?

China denies these allegations, asserting that the facilities, often described as detention centers, were intended for vocational training and de-radicalization, not for human rights abuses. China also claims that these camps have been closed, though there are reports of former inmates being imprisoned elsewhere.

More about Xinjiang Sanctions

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John Smith December 27, 2023 - 4:14 pm

really interesting read but I think there’s more to the story than what’s being said here, politics is never black and white.

Alex Johnson December 27, 2023 - 7:45 pm

sanctions seem like a strong response but i guess thats international politics for ya, eye for an eye sort of thing.

Mike D. December 28, 2023 - 1:28 am

China’s always been secretive about their internal policies, not suprised they’re clamping down on foreign critics.

Mia Chen December 28, 2023 - 7:16 am

Its alarming how this situations escalating, the world needs to pay more attention to whats happening in Xinjiang!

Sara K. December 28, 2023 - 8:23 am

I read somewhere else that the conditions in those camps are really bad, this article could’ve delved deeper into the human rights aspect.


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