Uyghur 'human rights violations' prompt USA to blacklist 28 Chinese security companies

Tuesday, 15 Oct, 2019

The blacklist effectively bars USA firms from selling technology to the Chinese companies without government approval.

The Trump administration's move, which was announced after USA markets closed, came on the same day negotiators from the two sides began working-level preparations for high-level talks due to begin Thursday in Washington.

The department denied the move was related to trade negotiations, saying the organizations "have been implicated in human rights violations and abuses in China's campaign targeting Uighurs and other predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities" in Xinijiang province.

Chinese video surveillance gear maker Hikvision said on Wednesday that usa sanctions against the company won't have a long-term impact on its businesses due to its limited reliance on U.S. technology.

The majority of China's Muslim population live in Xinjiang, a Northwestern region in between Kazakhstan and Mongolia.

The State Department announcement came a day after the Commerce Department blacklisted 28 Chinese entities that develop facial recognition and other artificial intelligence technology the USA says is being used to repress Muslim minorities.

On October 7, Washington announced it had included 20 Chinese public-security bureaus and eight companies to the so-called Entity List, which bars them from buying products from USA companies without us government approval.

The decision to blacklist the companies just days before trade talks between the us and China signaled to some analysts that the two global economies may not soon reach an agreement. They also include iFlytek, which makes voice recognition software; Xiamen Meiya Pico Information Co., a data forensics company; and Yixin Science and Technology Co., which makes nanotechnology.

The 28 organisations, which includes the world's major video surveillance company Hikvision, have been added to the Entity List, which bars them from buying products from USA companies without approval from Washington.

But early on Tuesday, China warned the United States against "interfering" in its affairs and said China will continue to take firm measures to protect its sovereign security, per Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang. It pulls in almost 30% of its 50 billion yuan (5.75 billion pounds) in annual revenue from overseas. It follows the same blueprint used by Washington in its attempt to limit the influence of Huawei Technologies for what it says are national security reasons.

The list of Chinese officials affected by the new ban is not public.

Ross said Monday's action will ensure USA technologies "are not used to repress defenseless minority populations". "We're doing well", Trump said at the White House on Tuesday.

In recent years, China has detained millions of Uighur Muslims and other ethnic minorities in what Beijing has falsely claimed are "voluntary de-radicalization camps" and "vocational training centers".

At the same time, China signaled that its officials may not be willing to sign the broad trade deal sought by the Trump administration, Bloomberg News reports.

In August, the Trump administration also released an interim rule banning federal purchases of telecommunications equipment from five Chinese companies, including Huawei and Hikvision.