The U.S. Commerce Department announced the addition of eight Chinese tech firms on its Entity List due to proven records of human rights violations towards Muslim minority groups in China.
The decision follows the announcement of cracking down a total of 28 organizations in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region that were deemed connected to China’s repression, arbitrary mass detention, and high-tech surveillance against the Uighurs, Kazakhs, and other Muslim minority groups.
The list includes the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region People’s Government Public Security Bureau and several government-affiliated agencies, and eight Chinese tech firms, which includes video surveillance manufacturers, Dahua Technology and Hikvision, AI Tech firms Yitu, Megvii, SenseTime, and iFlyTek, Digital Forensic company, Meiya Pico, and Yixin Technology Company.
The move of the Commerce Department aligns the current campaign of the United States against Chinese firms and government agencies implicated in the “in the implementation of China’s campaign of repression, arbitrary mass detention, and high-technology surveillance against Uighurs, Kazakhs and other members of Muslim minority groups.”
The campaign follows the expose made by the United Nations says that at least one in 12 Muslim citizens or roughly one million people in the Xinjiang region are being held in concentration camps and forced into labor and even torture.
China downplays U.S. claims of human rights abuses
China slammed the contention coming from the White House, saying that their allegations are baseless. Beijing also downplayed the claims of the United States that they are violating human rights against Muslims.
“There is no such thing as so-called ‘human rights issues’ as claimed by the United States. These accusations are nothing more than an excuse for the United States to deliberately interfere in China’s internal affairs,” said foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang.
Hikvision, one of the eight Chinese tech firms listed in the entity list, expressed their opposition to the decision made by the U.S saying that it will serve a hurdle for global businesses to improve human rights around the world.
“Hikvision strongly opposes today’s decision by the U.S. Government, and it will hamper efforts by global companies to improve human rights around the world. Hikvision, as the security industry’s global leader, respects human rights and takes our responsibility to protect people in the U.S. and the world seriously. Hikvision has been engaging with Administration officials over the past 12 months to clarify misunderstandings about the company and address their concerns,” a spokesperson said.
The United States “entity list” is a list of organizations, government agencies, and corporations that the country deems as a threat to national security. Businesses and companies can also be part of the so-called entity list if they run against the values of the United States. Being part of the list puts sanctions on businesses and would require them to apply for further licenses in order to transact and buy from U.S. suppliers. By being listed, it is practically impossible for a company to do business with American companies. Nonetheless, the impact of being listed in the entity list only depends on how reliant a company is with U.S. suppliers.