President Joe Biden’s administration has blacklisted more than three dozen Chinese companies and research organizations in a bid to deny Chinese security services access to cutting-edge American biotechnology.

“The scientific pursuit of biotechnology and medical innovation can save lives,” Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said Thursday. “Unfortunately, the PRC is choosing to use these technologies to pursue control over its people and its repression of members of ethnic and religious minority groups.”

Commerce Department officials moved to deprive the offending entities of American supplies in tandem with an analogous measure from the Treasury Department, which expelled several Chinese technology companies from the U.S. financial system. Those executive branch maneuvers coincided with the passage of landmark legislation to sever the links between U.S. companies and enslaved Uyghur Muslims.

“For those who are not familiar with it at this point, it basically says that you can't import products into the United States that are made by slave labor in Xinjiang or from entities that are associated with the government of that region,” Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a Republican co-author of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, said Thursday. "And if you're a company who is manufacturing in that area, you’re going to need to prove that slaves didn't make it. The presumption is on you.”


Chinese officials have denied perpetrating a genocide against the Uyghurs, characterizing their mass detention facilities in Xinjiang as “vocational training” centers. An independent tribunal empaneled at the request of the World Uyghur Congress concluded last week that a genocide is underway, a conclusion that the U.S. and lawmakers in Canada and Europe have also drawn. The tribunal’s finding rested in part on government documents that reveal Chinese General Secretary Xi Jinping’s desire to curtail the Uyghur Muslin population in China.

“Population proportion and population security are important foundations for long-term peace and stability,” Xi said in a little-known speech noted by the tribunal with the assistance of Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation senior fellow Adrian Zenz.

While the Uyghur Muslim plight provided much of the justification for the Biden administration’s moves, Chinese officials also seek “to develop and deploy biotechnology and other technologies for military applications,” according to Raimondo’s team.

“These latest designations are consistent with the Biden administration's ongoing efforts to wield Washington's existing legal and regulatory authorities to better address China's weaponization of new and emerging technologies, like neurotechnology,” Craig Singleton of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies wrote in response to the Commerce Department announcement. “What used to be the stuff of science fiction, such as brain-controlled weaponry, has the real potential to provide the Chinese military with a qualitative military and/or intelligence advantage over the United States.”


Raimondo was more oblique, saying, “We cannot allow U.S. commodities, technologies, and software that support medical science and biotechnical innovation to be diverted toward uses contrary to U.S. national security."