US blacklists 28 Chinese entities, citing their role in repressing Uyghur Muslims

HikVision and Dahua, two of the world's largest manufacturers of surveillance technology, are among those that have been blacklisted.

The United States has added eight Chinese technology companies to its Entity list, effectively banning them from trading with US companies, for their alleged involvement in the repression of Uyghur Muslims and other predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities residing in China.

According to a government filing submitted on Monday, the US Commerce Department added 28 entities to its blacklist, which comprised of 20 Chinese public security bureaus and eight technology companies, all of whom are located in China. 

Being added to the Entity List prevents entities from buying parts and components from US companies without government approval.

Among the entities placed on the list are Hikvision and Dahua Technology, two of the world's largest manufacturers of surveillance technology. 

From 2011 to 2017, Hikvision was the world's largest surveillance camera maker, owning 38% in market share globally in 2017, according to a research report by IHS Markit published in July 2018. Dahua Technologies, meanwhile, has more than 16,000 employees according to its website, and has offices in North America, Europe, and Latin America.

The Trump administration had been considering whether to add Hikvision to its Entity list since May, but did not make an official decision until Monday. 

The six remaining technology companies added to the trade blacklist are IFLYTEK, Megvii Technology, Sense Time, Xiamen Meiya Pico Information, Yitu Technologies, and Yixin Science and Technology.

The entities were added to the blacklist as they are allegedly involved "in human rights violations and abuses [related to] the implementation of China's campaign of repression, mass arbitrary detention, and high-technology surveillance against Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and other members of Muslim minority groups" in the Xinjuan region.

While the government filing did not specify what actions the entities have committed, it said that their activities are "contrary to the foreign policy of the United States".

China has faced growing condemnation for its treatment of Uyghur Muslims and other Muslim minorities, with numerous reports stating that Chinese authorities have been tracking the movements of these people. There have also been reports of other human rights abuses, such as the installation of spyware on the phones of Uyghur Muslim and placing Uyghur Muslims into "re-education" camps.

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

"This action will ensure that our technologies, fostered in an environment of individual liberty and free enterprise, are not used to repress defenceless minority populations."

The newest Entity List additions are the latest among many that the US has made against Chinese businesses, including Huawei, which was placed on the Entity List back in May. Huawei can still trade with US companies until November however, as it was given a temporary licence to conduct trade where it is for the purpose of "maintain[ing] and support[ing] existing and currently fully operational networks and equipment, including software updates and patches". 

There are currently over 100 Chinese entities that have been added to the US trade blacklist.

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