U.S. Sanctions Chinese Company, Officials Over Uyghur Treatment
(Bloomberg) -- The U.S. Treasury Department has sanctioned a Chinese company -- SenseTime -- and two people over the alleged oppression of the Uyghur Muslims in the Xinjiang autonomous region in western China.
The U.S. said that SenseTime has developed facial recognition programs that “can determine a target’s ethnicity, with a particular focus on identifying ethnic Uyghurs.” The U.S. also says that the company has highlighted its software’s ability to recognize Uyghurs even if they’ve taken steps to avoid detection such as wearing beards, sunglasses or masks.
The Treasury Department also designated two Chinese people for sanctions, including a former chairman of the Xinjiang region and the current acting chairman. Treasury said that Shofrat Zakir and Erken Tuniyaz have overseen the internment of more than a million Uyghurs and members of other predominantly Muslim ethnic minority groups in Xinjiang.
“The mass detention of Uyghurs is part of an effort by PRC authorities to use detentions and data-driven surveillance to create a police state in the Xinjiang region,” the department said in a statement.
Zakir and Tuniyaz are also subject to visa restrictions under the State Department, making them ineligible for entry into the U.S. The designations follow a House vote earlier in the week to restrict the import of goods from the Xinjiang region.
Treasury also sanctioned four people accused of leading the crackdown on protests in Myanmar, including Myo Swe Win, Saw Myint Oo, Maung Ko and Khat Htein Nan.
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