The Biden administration issued a volley of sanctions against Chinese and Russian individuals and businesses over human rights concerns Friday, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The sanctions target Beijing’s persecution of Tibetan dissidents and illegal fishing practices, along with identified Russian war crimes in Ukraine and Moscow’s use of Iranian drones in to support its firefighting aims, the WSJ reported, citing officials familiar with the matter.
The sanctions aim to cut off individuals accused of corruption and human rights abuses from critical financial networks, punishment for the associated offenses and a possible deterrent against further violations.
The sanctions freeze assets belonging to the targeted persons that fall within U.S. territory, prevent the individuals from traveling to the U.S. and block some of their business dealings. Since many of the world’s financial networks are headquartered in or pass through the U.S., the sanctions can upend the recipient’s business dealings and in some cases collapse their operations, according to the WSJ.
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U.S. sanctioning officials have drafted a list targeting entities involved in human rights abuses in Tibet, where a minority group loyal to the exiled religious leader, the Dalai Lama, has faced persecution akin to that happening in Xinjiang, the WSJ reported.
Targets include some 170 entities, mostly Chinese, accused of participating in illegal fishing schemes in the Pacific that predate on local fishing industry and may help Beijing cement regional influence, U.S. officials previously told the WSJ.
“China’s national and local governments recruit some commercial fishing vessels into maritime militia activity,” the Congressional Research Service said in an April report. Chinese Communist Party officials then mandate the vessels “operate in specified waters to defend national sovereignty rights, participate in training and sovereignty defense, and provide support to the PLA in combat,”
The targets also include Russian officials connected to the “filtration camps,” where Moscow dumps Ukrainians caught behind the front lines, the WSJ reported. The Russian military has committed acts of torture against captured citizens, according to Human Rights Watch.
Most sanctions the Biden administration intends to levy fall under the Global Magnitsky Act, a 2017 rule named after a whistleblower who died in a Moscow jail that allows the U.S. to list business elite and high-ranking government and military officials.
Every year on Dec. 9, designated by the U.N. as International Anticorruption Day and International Human Rights Day, the U.S. Department of State and Department of Treasury target new individuals on corrupt actors and human rights abusers.
Separately, the Biden administration will target members of Russia’s defense industry involved in illicit transfer of drones produced by Iranian military companies and shipped to Russia for use in Ukraine, according to the WSJ. Russia has used the drones against military targets, but also to disable civilian infrastructure and inflict citizen deaths.