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President Biden delivers closing remarks during the virtual Summit for Democracy in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on Dec. 10. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Biden administration on Friday announced new sanctions on dozens of people and entities with ties to human rights abuses in China, Myanmar, Bangladesh and North Korea.

Why it matters: The move, timed with international Human Rights Day and the State Department's two-day Summit for Democracy, is a tool "to draw attention to and promote accountability for human rights violations and abuses," the department said.

Details: State has barred 12 people from entering the U.S., including current and former Chinese government officials whom the United States says had a hand in the detention of Uyghurs in Xinjiang.

  • Two Bangladeshi law enforcement officers were also named for their involvement in a May 2018 extrajudicial killing of a municipal councilor.
  • The Treasury on Friday designated SenseTime, a Chinese artificial intelligence company, a "Chinese military-industrial complex" entity, accusing it of creating facial recognition programs to identify Uyghurs. The company is now listed on an investment blacklist.
  • Several Myanmar military entities and chief ministers were targeted for their role in a deadly crackdown after the military overthrew the democratically-elected government.
  • Treasury also sanctioned a few agencies controlled by the North Korean government.

What's next: Secretary of State Antony Blinken is traveling to the United Kingdom on Friday where he'll meet with G7 colleagues through Sunday in Liverpool.

  • He will then head to Southeast Asia next week with stops in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.
  • In Jakarta, according to a State Department release announcing the travel, he will deliver "remarks on the significance of the Indo-Pacific region" and "in each country, [he] will address the worsening crisis in Burma," also known as Myanmar.

Go deeper

Updated Jan 14, 2022 - World

HRW criticizes Biden over "mixed signals" on human rights

Photo: Dustin Chambers/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Human Rights Watch criticized President Biden and other leaders of democratic nations for sending "mixed signals" on human rights in its annual World Report published on Thursday, saying they "are not meeting the challenges before them."

Why it matters: Though Biden pledged to put human rights at the center of his foreign policy, HRW Executive Director Kenneth Roth wrote that weapon sales to repressive governments and public reticence on certain human rights violations place those promises in question.

Updated Jan 14, 2022 - World

North Korea fires projectile in 3rd launch this month, Seoul says

A news broadcast in Seoul, South Korea, on Tuesday of a North Korean missile test. Photo: Anthony Wallace/AFP via Getty Images

North Korea's military fired an "unidentified projectile" eastward on Friday, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said, per Yonhap news agency.

Why it matters: North Korea's third launch in just over a week came hours after state media warned that its military would take "stronger and certain reaction" if the U.S. moved to have more sanctions imposed on the country.

Nov 16, 2021 - World

Olympics sponsors caught between U.S. and China

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Companies that do business in China — especially Olympics sponsors — are concerned Beijing will use the 2022 Winter Games as a loyalty test.

Why it matters: China's leaders have become adept at silencing criticism from U.S. companies that might otherwise condemn the country's human rights record — and the Chinese government has been able to host prestigious global events like the Olympics while committing rights violations with impunity.