US' sanctions aim to isolate Xinjiang: Scholar
The United States, by imposing a series of sanctions on China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region over so-called human rights abuses, aims to isolate the region from the rest of the country and contain China's development, a Chinese scholar said.
The Uygur Forced Labor Prevention Act, which was passed by the US last year, will cut Xinjiang out of global industrial and supply chains, plunging the region into isolation and poverty, said Cao Wei, an associate professor of political science and international relations at Lanzhou University.
"Once cut off from the rest of the world, Xinjiang will encounter great difficulties in economic development and face obstacles in gaining access to capital, technologies, talent and markets from the outside," he said.
The law tries to impose the label of "forced labor" on all commodities produced in Xinjiang, essentially creating a "presumption of guilt".
It empowers the US to carry out long-arm jurisdiction and investigate industrial and supply chains which it deems as involved with "forced labor" from Xinjiang.
With sanctions looming, some enterprises would shy away from hiring Uygurs for fear of losing the US market, according to Cao. That is because it is extremely difficult to prove their innocence given the length of industrial chains in the era of economic globalization, he said.
As a result, Uygurs would find it difficult to participate in the social and economic development of Xinjiang, much less that of the whole country.
"Ironically, while the US opposes racial segregation at home, it is actually creating racial segregation in China by passing such a law," Cao said.
He also explained the background of the US' increased intervention in Xinjiang.
"Since Donald Trump took office in 2017, the US' policy toward China changed dramatically," he said. The 2017 US National Security Strategy Report defined China as a "strategic competitor".
Since then, the US has stepped up its efforts to intervene in Xinjiang and other issues related to China's core interests.
"Xinjiang is the just one part of the US' national strategy to contain and suppress China, which costs the US little but inflicts great harm."