US blacklists 28 Chinese companies over Xinjiang 'rights abuses'

The US Department of Commerce on Monday said it was blacklisting 28 Chinese governmental and commercial organizations, citing rights violations against Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang region.

Among the blacklisted bureaus and companies are the Xinjiang province's Public Security Bureau, together with 19 other government agencies.

Read more: How Uighurs are using a popular video app to mourn missing relatives

Eight commercial Chinese companies have also been blacklisted, including video surveillance company Hikvision as well as leading Chinese artificial intelligence firms SenseTime Group Ltd, and Megvii Technology Ltd.

The organizations will be added to the Department of Commerce's "entity list," a list of companies that bars companies or other entities from buying parts and components from US companies without prior government approval.

The blacklisted commercial companies also include Zhejiang Dahua Technology, IFLYTEK Co, Xiamen Meiya Pico Information Co, and Yixin Science and Technology Co.

The move comes as high-level trade talks between US and Chinese officials are set to resume in Washington.

The commerce department in a statement said these entities "have been implicated in human rights violations and abuses in China's campaign targeting Uighurs and other predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR)."

It added that the entities on the list are specifically implicated in "China’s campaign of repression, mass arbitrary detention, and high-technology surveillance against Uighurs, Kazakhs, and other members of Muslim minority groups."

Chinese state media on Tuesday said video surveillance firm Hikvision resolutely opposes the US decision to blacklist the firm, saying the decision has no basis in fact.

Not linked to trade talks says White House

The US government denied that the decision to blacklist the 28 companies is linked to trade talks that are due to resume with Beijing this week in the hope of resolving a long-running trade war.

In May 2019 the US government added Huawei to the entity list over national security concerns, and in August the Trump administration released an interim rule banning federal purchases of telecommunications equipment from five Chinese companies, including Huawei and Hikvision.

Huawei has repeatedly denied it is controlled by the Chinese government, military or intelligence services and has filed a lawsuit against the US government's restrictions.

kmm/stb (dpa/Reuters)