SHANGHAI - China's Ministry of Commerce said Sunday it "resolutely opposes" the addition of 23 Chinese entities to a U.S. economic blacklist over issues including alleged human rights abuses and military ties.
In a statement citing a spokesperson, the Chinese commerce ministry said the inclusion of the Chinese entities was a "serious breach of international economic and trade rules" and an "unreasonable suppression" of Chinese companies.
The Chinese government "will take necessary measures to safeguard China's legitimate rights and interests," the statement said.
The U.S. Department of Commerce said on Friday it had added 14 companies and other entities to its economic blacklist, saying they had been "implicated in human rights violations and abuses in the implementation of China's campaign of repression, mass detention, and high technology surveillance against Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and other members of Muslim minority groups in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region."
Beijing denies the alleged abuses.
Entities included on the economic blacklist are generally required to apply for licenses from the Commerce Department and face tough scrutiny when they seek permission to receive items from U.S. suppliers.
Washington also added five entities it said directly support China's military modernisation programmes related to lasers and battle management systems. It identified a further four entities for "exporting and attempting to export items" to entities already sanctioned by the U.S.
In 2019, the Commerce Department under then-president Donald Trump targeted 20 Chinese public security bureaus and eight companies including video surveillance firm Hikvision , as well as leaders in facial recognition technology SenseTime Group Ltd and Megvii Technology Ltd, over China's treatment of Muslim minorities.
(Reporting by Andrew Galbraith; Additional reporting by Ryan Woo in Beijing; Editing by Lincoln Feast)