The United States accused China of "genocide" on Monday, citing Beijing's mistreatment of Uyghur Muslims and other minorities in the country's northwest Xinjiang province. The People's Republic of China is perpetrating genocide and crimes against humanity against Uyghurs, who are primarily Muslims and members of other ethnic and religious minority groups in Xinjiang, according to the US State Department's annual report to Congress on genocide.

Imprisonment, torture, forced sterilization, and persecution are examples of crimes against humanity. President Joe Biden's administration sanctioned at least 34 Chinese firms on Friday in a massive crackdown over the use of US-made products against Uyghur civilians and the supply of modern technology to Russia and Iran, according to the Commerce Department.

Biden administration imposes new sanctions against China

All of the firms sanctioned are engaging in actions that are detrimental to US foreign policy and national security, says a statement released by the US Commerce Department. The Department also claimed that fourteen Chinese-owned firms were involved in the suppression of Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in the northwest Xinjiang area, Republic World reported.

It stated that these Chinese companies were involved in the continuation of Beijing's "genocide and crimes against humanity." The statement claimed that at least five businesses were involved in purchasing lasers and other technologies to upgrade the Chinese military, despite being prohibited from doing business with US entities.

At the same time, the United States has stepped up its economic pressure on China in response to its treatment of ethnic Uyghurs. The US put 14 Chinese firms on its trade blacklist last week for alleged human rights violations and high-tech monitoring in Xinjiang.

The Chinese companies were implicated in human rights violations and abuses in the implementation of China's campaign of repression, mass detention, and high-tech surveillance against Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and other members of Muslim minority groups in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

Read Also: Joe Biden Expresses Support to Cuba Protesters; Sen. Rubio Criticizes The Administration's Initial Assessment

China threatens US retaliation

Per Daily Mail, Beijing retaliated angrily despite Beijing's repeated denials of the claims. The Commerce Ministry accused the US of unreasonable suppression of Chinese companies and severe violations of international economic and trade laws and threatened retaliation.

Beijing claims such restrictions are required to combat separatists and religious extremists who organized assaults and inflamed tensions between China's biggest ethnic group, the Han, and the largely Muslim ethnic Uyghurs. Myanmar, commonly known as Burma, is still at risk of genocide, according to the seven-page report.

It stated that the US will continue to work with allies and partners to pressure Myanmar's military administration to end any repression, including crackdowns on dissent following a February coup, as well as brutality against Rohingya Muslims. It also chastised Eritrea and Ethiopia for ethnic cleansing in Ethiopia's northern Tigray area during their military assault.

China said on Sunday that it will take appropriate actions in response to the United States' decision to ban Chinese firms for their alleged involvement in abuses against Uyghurs and other Muslim ethnic minorities. According to the ministry's statement, China would take appropriate steps to resolutely defend Chinese enterprises' lawful rights and interests.

Although no specifics were provided, China has disputed claims of arbitrary imprisonment and forced labor in Xinjiang's far western province and has increasingly responded to penalties against firms and officials by imposing visa and financial measures of its own. Since 2017, the Chinese government has reportedly imprisoned over a million individuals in Xinjiang.

China is accused by critics of running forced labor camps, torture, and enforced sterilization to integrate Muslim ethnic minority populations. In response to Beijing's persecution of the Muslim minority, the Trump administration put several of Beijing's biggest artificial intelligence firms on its economic blacklist in 2019.

Human rights organizations have accused China of holding more than a million Uyghurs in "re-education camps," where mass sterilization of women and forced labor are allegedly carried out. Hundreds of blindfolded and chained men, thought to be Uyghur and other minority groups, were carried from a train in what seemed to be a transfer of inmates, according to disturbing drone footage released last year. China has vehemently denied the existence of any such camps in Xinjiang, as per Daily Express.

Related Article: US Officials Set to Ban More Chinese Companies From American Economy Over Xinjiang Abuse Controversies