The United States added 34 entities to its economic blacklist, including 14 Chinese companies over alleged human rights abuses and high-tech surveillance in Xinjiang.
The Commerce Department said the Chinese companies had been ‘implicated in human rights violations and abuses in the implementation of China’s campaign of repression, mass detention, and high technology surveillance against Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and other members of Muslim minority groups in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.’
Beijing denies the alleged abuses.
Uyghur detainees in a camp in Lop County, Xinjiang, in April 2017. The United States added 34 entities to its economic blacklist, including 14 Chinese companies over alleged human rights abuses of Uyghur Muslims and high-tech surveillance in Xinjiang
Workers walk around a camp for Uyghurs Muslims in the Xinjiang region of China. The Commerce Department is punishing companies for their involvement in human rights abuses against Uyghurs
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamanei. The U.S. also punished companies that are trying to facilitate U.S. exports to Iran
Reuters first reported the planned additions late Thursday.
They include the China Academy of Electronics and Information Technology; Xinjiang Lianhai Chuangzhi Information Technology Co; Shenzhen Cobber Information Technology Co; Xinjiang Sailing Information Technology; Beijing Geling Shentong Information Technology; Shenzhen Hua’antai Intelligent Technology Co., Ltd.; and Chengdu Xiwu Security System Alliance Co., Ltd.
In a Federal Registry update Friday, the Commerce Department said in total it was adding 34 entities listed under 43 entries.
Twenty-three are based in China, including the 14 related to human rights abuses in Xinjiang.
Additionally, six are based in Russia and two are based in Iran.
Two are from Canada, two are from Lebanon and one company each is based in the Netherlands, Pakistan, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and the U.K. While five of the entities are based in multiple destinations, according to a breakdown from Bloomberg News.
The U.S. added some of the entities for their support of China’s military modernization programs related to lasers and battle management system.
The list includes entities facilitating the export of U.S. items to Iran and involved in the procurement of U.S.-origin electronic components, likely in furtherance of Russian military programs.
‘The Department of Commerce remains firmly committed to taking strong, decisive action to target entities that are enabling human rights abuses in Xinjiang or that use U.S. technology to fuel China’s destabilizing military modernization efforts,’ Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said in a statement.
The latest action shows President Joe Biden aims to press China over what the administration says are worsening human rights abuses against the Uyghur population in Xinjiang
The action follows the department’s decision last month to add five other companies and other Chinese entities to the blacklist over allegations of forced labor in the far western region of China.
China dismisses accusations of genocide and forced labor in Xinjiang and says its policies are necessary to stamp out separatists and religious extremists who plotted attacks and stirred up tension between mostly Muslim ethnic Uyghurs and Han, China’s largest ethnic group.
‘The Chinese side will take all necessary measures to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies and rejects U.S. attempts to interfere in China’s internal affairs,’ said foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin on Friday.
The latest action shows President Joe Biden aims to press China over what the administration says are worsening human rights abuses against the Uyghur population in Xinjiang.
Generally, entities added to the economic blacklist are required to apply for licenses from the Commerce Department and face tough scrutiny when they seek permission to receive items from U.S. suppliers.
This is not the first time the U.S. government has targeted Chinese firms linked to allegations of high-tech surveillance activity in Xinjiang.
In 2019, the Trump administration added some of China’s top artificial intelligence startups to its economic blacklist over its treatment of Muslim minorities.
The Commerce Department under Trump targeted 20 Chinese public security bureaus and eight companies including video surveillance firm Hikvision, as well as leaders in facial recognition technology SenseTime Group Ltd and Megvii Technology Ltd.
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