The United States on Friday added a Chinese software company and a North Korean animation studio to its blacklist by imposing sanctions on officials and entities from eight countries for human rights abuses.
The US Treasury said Chinese artificial intelligence firm SenseTime and two Uyghur political leaders from China’s Xinjiang region, Shahraat Zakir and Erkin Tuniyas, were involved in the widespread suppression of Uyghurs.
He added that SenseTime’s facial recognition software was designed in part for use in Xinjiang against Uyghurs and other predominantly Muslim minorities, more than a million of its members have been imprisoned in internment camps in the region.
“The mass detention of Uyghurs is part of the (Chinese) authorities’ effort to use arrests and data-based surveillance to create a police state in Xinjiang,” the Treasury said.
He also accused the North Korean government-run animation company SEK Studio and its associated companies and individuals of exploiting North Korean workers to earn foreign currency and avoid sanctions against the country.
SEK Studio has an international reputation and has contributed work on big-budget animated films such as Disney’s “Pocahontas” and “The Lion King”.
Likewise, the Minister of the People’s Armed Forces of North Korea, Ri Yong Gil, was punished.
These are the first US sanctions targeting North Korea since President Joe Biden took office.
In additional actions marking Human Rights Day, the Treasury has added to its blacklist four regional leaders and three organizations linked to the Burmese Ministry of Defense, accusing them of participating in the “brutal repression” against the Burmese people.
It also included the Bangladeshi internal security unit, Rapid Action Brigade, accused of participating in nearly 600 extrajudicial killings since 2018.
In parallel, the Foreign Ministry announced on Friday that it blacklisted 12 officials from China, Uganda, Belarus, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Mexico “for their involvement in serious human rights violations.”
“We are determined to place human rights at the center of our foreign policy and we reaffirm this commitment by using appropriate tools and powers to draw attention to and promote accountability for human rights violations and abuses,” said Secretary of State Anthony Blinken. .
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