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WASHINGTON DC - The US has announced sanctions against 11 Chinese companies - said to include current and former suppliers to Patagonia, Nike, Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Hugo Boss and Muji - over alleged links with human rights violations against Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang region.

The companies, which have been barred from purchasing US technology or products without a special licence, are allegedly complicit in the use of forced labour or linked to repression in Xinjiang which is the heart of China's cotton industry.

However, the Esquel Group, which owns one of the affected manufacturers, Changji Esquel Textile Co Ltd, supplier to Tommy Hilfiger and Nike, rejected the allegations and said it was seeking to overturn the US sanction.

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