USA blacklists 8 Chinese tech companies over human rights issues

People visiting a Hikvision booth at a security exhibition in Shanghai China

People visiting a Hikvision booth at a security exhibition in Shanghai China

Those targeted include one of the world's largest makers of surveillance equipment.

All 28 organisations are now on the so-called Entity List, which bars them from buying products from USA companies without approval from Washington.

The Commerce Department announced its decision on Monday. Nineteen government agencies, including Xinjiang region's public security bureau and the province's police college, were also placed on the list. The United States is blacklisting a group of Chinese tech companies that develop facial recognition and other artificial intelligence technology, including iFlytek, that the US says is being used to repress China's Muslim minority groups.

The US move came after Washington banned technology giant Huawei and other Chinese firms from government contracts, amid the trade war between the two countries.

China has not yet commented on the U.S. decision.

In April, a bipartisan group of United States lawmakers urged the move against Chinese companies it called "complicit in human rights abuses" and specifically cited Hikvision and Dahua.

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The filings on Hikvision is also based on high technology surveillance against Muslim Uighurs and Kazakhs.

Companies added to the "Entity List" include fellow video surveillance company Zhejiang Dahua Technology, as well as IFLYTEK, Xiamen Meiya Pico Information and Yixin Science and Technology.

The Commerce Department previously added Huawei Technologies and more than 100 affiliates to the Entity List.

According to reports in September, the White House is mulling de-listing Chinese companies from USA stock exchanges.

China says people in Xinjiang are attending "vocational training centres" created to combat extremism. The move was spurred by accusations of human rights violations against Uighur Muslims and other predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities.

Last week, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo alleged that China "demands its citizens worship government, not God" in a press conference in the Vatican.

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