Chinese tech companies oppose US blacklisting

Chinese video surveillance firm Hikvision provides technology for sophisticated footage of Muslim minority groups

Chinese video surveillance firm Hikvision provides technology for sophisticated footage of Muslim minority groups

"There is no such thing as these so-called "human rights issues" as claimed by the United States", said foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang on Tuesday.

The US Commerce Department on Monday placed 28 Chinese government agencies and companies, including video surveillance gear maker Hikvision and artificial intelligence firms SenseTime and Megvii, on a trade blacklist over Beijing's alleged treatment of Uighur Muslims and other predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region.

"This kind of behavior seriously violates the basic norms of worldwide relations, interferes in China's internal affairs, and harms China's interests", he said. "China will continue to take firm and strong measures to resolutely safeguard the country's sovereignty, security and development interests".

The United States has added eight Chinese technology companies to its Entity list, effectively banning them from trading with USA companies, for their alleged involvement in the repression of Uyghur Muslims and other predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities residing in China. US futures fell after China said it strongly opposed the American decision to blacklist some of its technology firms.

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.

iFlytek uses AI mainly on education and health-care sectors, China's top voice recognition technology firm said.

Commenting on the latest blacklist, Wilbur Ross, secretary of commerce, says: "The US government and Department of Commerce can not and will not tolerate the brutal suppression of ethnic minorities within China". But the decision is likely to rankle the Chinese government, which has helped support some of these companies as they have developed into cutting-edge technology firms.

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Hikvision and Megvii said on Tuesday in separate statements that they strongly opposed the U.S. blacklisting, and that the decision "has no basis in fact".

The companies on the blacklist include two video surveillance companies-Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Co. and Zhejiang Dahua Technology Co. -that by some accounts control as much as a third of the global market for video surveillance and have cameras all over the world.

One of the firms, Hikvision, told Bloomberg: "Punishing Hikvision, despite these engagements, will deter global companies from communicating with the United States government, hurt Hikvision's U.S. businesses partners and negatively impact the USA economy". This means US companies will require approval to do any kind of business with the 28 entities.

Megvii said only one percent of its revenue in 2018 was from projects in Xinjiang, while no revenue at all was generated from the region in the first six months of 2019. The visa restrictions "complement" the Commerce Department actions, he said.

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

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

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