Beijing, Jan 15–China urged the United States on Thursday to immediately withdraw its wrong decision to put an import ban on all cotton and tomato products from the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region and stop interfering in China’s internal affairs under the pretext of Xinjiang-related issues.

“We firmly oppose it. China will take all necessary measures to uphold our sovereignty, security and development interests,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said at a regular news briefing in Beijing.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced on Wednesday that the ban was imposed over allegations that the products are made with forced labor.

Zhao said so-called forced labor is “the lie of the century”, fabricated by certain institutions and people in Western countries including the U.S..

“The U.S. side created this lie and took actions upon this lie,” the spokesman said, adding that the purpose is to crack down on Chinese people and companies and to contain China’s development.

That behavior has violated market economy principles, harmed global industrial and supply chains and damaged the interests of companies and consumers of all countries, including U.S. ones, Zhao said.

“No one will benefit or gain from such action,” he added.

The spokesman also said that the U.S. should feel embarrassed about its own forced labor issues as repeatedly reported by the media.

He cited a report from the Los Angeles Times saying that women working overtime in prison factories churned out masks by the thousands but were forbidden to wear them.

Gao Feng, a spokesman of the Ministry of Commerce, said on Thursday that China is strongly against the U.S.’ and some other countries’ gross interference in China’s internal affairs based on fake information and fabricated lies.

Cotton and tomato products from Xinjiang play an important role in global industrial supply chains, and restrictive measures undermine global supply chain security and impede global economic recovery, Gao said, urging the countries involved to immediately end restrictions.


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