"These twenty-eight entities have been determined by the US Government to be acting contrary to the foreign policy interests of the United States", the Commerce Department said in a notice published in the Federal Register.
More than half of the targeted agencies are police departments affiliated with the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region People’s Government Security Bureau, the notice said.
In late September, Beijing expressed protest over US remarks on the alleged repression of the Muslim population of China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.
“I would like to point out that the Chinese party expresses strong discontent and protest over US discussions of the so-called human rights crisis in Xinjiang, defaming the Chinese religious policy and interference in its internal affairs,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a press briefing.
He pointed out that the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region was facing separatism- and terror-related problems, rather than sectarian tensions.
“The Chinese government has always paid much attention to the development and stability of Xinjiang, as well as ensuring freedom of religion for all peoples, living in Xinjiang,” Geng added.
In an August 2018 report, UN experts on the elimination of racial discrimination said that up to 1 million ethnic Uyghurs could be held in so-called re-education camps.
Beijing has, however, repeatedly denied the existence of such camps on numerous occasions, saying that the claims have never been substantiated and arguing that the facilities are, in fact, vocational colleges set up as part of counterterrorist efforts in the region.
An estimated 1 million Muslims in Xinjiang Province are reportedly believed imprisoned in Chinese re-education camps, according to US officials.
The historically Muslim Xinjiang was conquered by the Qing Empire in the 1750s, when the Chinese troops destroyed the Dzungar Khanate.
The region went through several bloody revolts and proclaimed independence as the East Turkistan Republic following the 1911-1912 Xinhai Revolution that toppled the Qing Dynasty. In 1949, the recently established People’s Republic of China restored control over Xinjiang, which has been reportedly mired in a simmering conflict since then.