Wednesday, 16 October, 2019

United States blacklists Hikvision, 7 other Chinese tech companies over human rights issues

US blacklists 8 Chinese tech companies over human rights issues US blacklists 28 Chinese organisations over 'Uighur abuses' in Xinjiang
Deanna Wagner | 08 October, 2019, 23:48

It notes this action constricts the export of items subject to the Export Administration Regulations to entities that 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.

China said the United States should stop interfering in its affairs. "China will take firm and strong actions to firmly protect its interests of sovereignty, safety and development", Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said during a briefing in Beijing.

Being added to the so-called "Entity List" bars companies or other entities from buying parts and components from United States companies without U.S. government approval.

The blacklisting of Chinese organizations comes days before high-level trade talks are set to resume in Washington with the aim of ending the ongoing trade war between the two countries, although President Donald Trump has warned that the reaching of a conclusive deal remains "unlikely". In May, telecom giant Huawei was placed on the blacklist in May for allegedly breaking USA sanctions on Iran.

It also opposed the ban and said the U.S. government put the company on the blacklist without offering any evidence. The measure announced October 7 targets providers of technology Washington says is being used to repress Muslim ethnic minorities.

Artificial intelligence firm Megvii, which is backed by e-commerce giant Alibaba, said in a statement it "strongly" protests against the decision, which it said "reflects a misunderstanding of our company".

"The US Government and Department of Commerce can not and will not tolerate the brutal suppression of ethnic minorities within China", US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said on Monday.

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The lawsuit also noted that the World Health Organization previous year declared video game addition, or "gaming disorder", a disease.

"Hikvision, as the security industry's global leader, respects human rights and takes our responsibility to protect people in the USA and the world seriously", the company said.

The other companies on the list are speech recognition firm iFlytek Co, surveillance equipment maker Zhejiang Dahua Technology, data recovery firm Xiamen Meiya Pico Information Co, facial recognition firm Yitu Technology and Yixin Science and Technology Co.

Reuters reported in August Hikvision receives nearly 30% of its 50 billion yuan ($7 billion) in income from in a foreign country. The company said in May that it retained a human rights expert and former USA ambassador Pierre-Richard Prosper to advise the company regarding human rights compliance.

Megvii said Tuesday there are "no grounds" for including the company in the blacklist. The visa restrictions "complement" the Commerce Department actions, he said.

Entities on the list are prohibited from doing business with American companies without being granted a USA government license, although some have maintained relationships with banned companies through global subsidiaries.

Hikvision and Dahua were suspended from trade at the companies' behest.