China’s tech sector is on edge, as government crackdowns on tech companies have left it with the worst data breaches in its history.
The government says it wants to crack down on cybercrime, but some in the industry say it is also looking to censor the Internet and restrict foreign access to China’s largest media company.
U.N. human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said in a statement Tuesday that China is the country that “has been most impacted by the cyberattack.”
A total of 10 Chinese companies have been hit with the most recent U.s. sanctions, including Tencent Holdings Ltd.
Tencent is owned by the state-owned China Communications Group Corp. In China, foreign companies are often given preferential treatment over domestic ones, including the ability to hire foreign workers.
The U.K.-based DigitalGlobe said the government has targeted companies for censoring news and social media content in the past.
Last week, Beijing also shut down Twitter, a popular social media platform, amid concerns about threats to the country’s security.
Uighurs and other ethnic minorities in Xinjiang, the vast region that China claims as its own, face discrimination and abuse in China.
The region is home to more than a million Uighur people, who say they are Muslims but have no formal ties to the Islamic faith.
The crackdown comes as Chinese President Xi Jinping has said Beijing wants to eradicate all forms of extremism and religious intolerance, though he has not yet said what measures will be put in place.
Last year, Beijing imposed new rules that banned foreign investment in the region, which was a first for China.
That move was met with fierce opposition from Western nations, including those that have long complained about China’s authoritarian tendencies.
A spokesman for the State Council, the Chinese government’s propaganda agency, said on Tuesday that the measures “were not intended to discriminate against Xinjiang or the Uighu.”
The statement from the Xinhua news agency said that Xinjiang “has long been a source of terrorism and extremism.”
The Uighuran region has a large Uighubian community that often struggles to get access to jobs and education.
The Xinhua statement said that authorities “are currently taking steps to protect the people of Xinjiang and its cultural heritage.”
The Chinese government has previously blamed Uighuras for violence and extremism, and Uighurbis often cite the persecution of Uighut Muslims as a reason for their anger.
The statement came after a U. S. judge in Washington issued a temporary restraining order on the Chinese restrictions, which were lifted in early February.
The ruling came in response to a petition filed by the National Uyghur American Human Rights Commission, which says the restrictions “severely burden the rights and freedoms of Uyhba Muslim Uyhas and Uyham Muslim Uys.”
The commission said the restrictions violate U. s rights to freedom of expression, assembly, association, religion and association with non-government organizations.
In a statement on Tuesday, the commission called on the Trump administration to “lift the restrictions immediately” and urged Congress to take steps to overturn them.
China’s government has repeatedly denied Uighus’ rights and has threatened to kill them.
In November, China’s Ministry of State Security issued a statement saying it has “always been clear that China’s political system and society is strictly and strictly opposed to any form of violence, violence against Uyhad, violence or oppression against Uys and Uygurs.”
The government has also issued numerous travel advisories and warnings about Uyharis.