TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday (July 15) announced visa restrictions for employees of Chinese tech companies such as Huawei during a State Department press briefing.
“The State Department is imposing visa restrictions on certain employees of Chinese technology companies like Huawei that provide material support to regimes engaging in human rights violations and abuses globally,” Pompeo told journalists at the news conference, according to Politico. The secretary described Huawei as “an arm of the CCP’s surveillance state that censors political dissidents and enables mass internment camps in Xinjiang and the indentured servitude of its population.”
The move relies on Section 212(a)(3)(C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which says visitors are not allowed entry into the U.S. if the secretary of state has reason to believe their entry “would have potentially serious adverse foreign policy consequences for the United States,” Pompeo said. He also warned that telecommunications companies working with Huawei “are doing business with human rights abusers.”
Pompeo did not go into detail on which employees would be targeted or how many would be affected by the restrictions, CNN reported.
Huawei criticized the move in a statement. “Huawei operates independent of the Chinese government. We are a private, employee-owned firm,” Politico cited the company as saying. “We are disappointed by this unfair and arbitrary action.”
The company at one point had around 1,500 workers in the U.S. but laid off about 600 of them last year, Politico said. Huawei also said earlier this year that it expected more layoffs would be on the way.