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UN expert condemns US sanctions on China 

The UN’s special rapporteur says Washington’s sanctions on China do not conform to international law and are tantamount to human rights violations.

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US sanctions on China are having an adverse effect on people’s livelihoods, according to Alena Douhan, a UN Special Rapporteur, who visited China between 6 and 17 May in order to assess the negative impact of such measures on the country’s population. 

In a statement released after her 12-day trip, Douhan said that the US has been implementing unilateral sanctions against China across industries such as telecommunications, energy, finance and trade since 2017. She pointed out that these penalties have had a measurable economic and human rights impact on the country. 

The expert wrote that she received reports of companies experiencing a substantial loss in business, with representatives telling her about “the swift loss of the totality of overseas markets, mainly in the US and Canada, and a significant decrease of commercial transactions with European partners.”

She noted that the restrictions have resulted in “disruptions” in business between China and other nations, especially when it comes to making payment in US dollars, and that there were situations in which businesses with thousands of staff had to cut their workforce by more than half. 

[See more: IMF calls for restraint after US imposes more tariffs on Chinese goods]

Douhan’s statement also made reference to the Xinjiang autonomous region whose various industries, including cotton and textiles, have been particularly hit hard by US sanctions, following allegations that the Chinese government had been persecuting Uyghurs and other ethnic groups in the area. 

The special rapporteur added that the impact on the economy was having a knock-on effect on the human rights of the Chinese population as those who are sanctioned “have extremely limited capacity” to have such measures overturned. Moreover, the sanctions were negatively impacting the academic and employment opportunities of Chinese students. 

Douhan concluded her statement by expressing her concerns over the US sanctions, which she noted did not “conform with international law.” 

She urged the ending of the sanctions and called for UN human rights organisations to consider cases stemming from the sanctions as human rights violations. 

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