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US Adds 33 Chinese Companies, Institutions To Economic Blacklist

US efforts of blacklisting are to crackdown the ties to military purchases and also a punishment to Beijing for its treatment towards Muslim minorities

 

WASHINGTON| On Friday, US Commerce Department said it was adding 33 Chinese companies and other institutions to an economic blacklist for human rights violations and to address US national security concerns involving weapons of mass destruction and other military activities.

Trump’s administration new efforts of blacklisting the companies to crackdown the ties to military purchases and also a punishment to Beijing for its treatment towards Muslim minorities. It came as Communist Party rulers in Beijing unveiled details of a plan to impose national security laws on Hong Kong.

The Commerce Department said the nine companies and institutions on grounds were “complicit in human rights violations and abuses committed in China’s campaign of repression, mass arbitrary detention, forced labour and high-technology surveillance against Uighurs.”

The government cited seven commercial entities for enabling China’s high-technology surveillance. The Commerce Department also added 24 governmental and commercial organizations to the economic list for supporting the procurement of items for use by the Chinese military.

NetPosa <300367.SZ>, amongst the companies whose facial recognition subsidiary is linked to the surveillance of Muslims in the country’s far west. It once harboured hopes of selling its technology in the United States.

Qihoo 360, a major cybersecurity firm in China whose research is widely followed by security professionals, was also added.

The Commerce Department said it was adding the firms to its “entity list” which bars the companies and organisations from access to US technology without specific US government approval.

Softbank backed CloudMinds is also in the list. It operates cloud-based services to run robots such as a version of pepper, a humanoid robot capable of simple communication. The company was blocked last year from transferring technology or technical information from the US unit to its offices in Beijing.

The new listing follow a similar October 2019 action when Commerce added 28 Chinese public security bureaus and companies including some of China’s top artificial intelligence startups and video surveillance company Hikvision <002415.SZ> to a US trade blacklist over the treatment of Uighur Muslims.

The actions follow the same blueprint used by Washington in its attempt to limit the influence of Huawei Technologies Co Ltd [HWT.UL] for what it says are national security reasons. Last week, Commerce took action to try to cut off Huawei’s access to chipmakers.

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