US imposes visa restrictions on Huawei employees, other Chinese tech workers

The new restrictions fall on certain employees of Chinese tech companies that "provide material support to regimes engaging in human rights abuses."

The US State Department on Wednesday announced new visa restrictions on certain employees of Chinese technology firms that provide "material support to regimes engaging in human rights abuses globally." Secretary of State Michael Pompeo specifically cited telco giant Huawei as an example of one such firm. 

In a statement, Pompeo expressly described Huawei as "an arm of the CCP's surveillance state that censors political dissidents and enables mass internment camps in Xinjiang and the indentured servitude of its population shipped all over China."

He added: "Telecommunications companies around the world should consider themselves on notice: If they are doing business with Huawei, they are doing business with human rights abusers."

The department did not elaborate on how many employees would be impacted. 

The move is the latest step in the United States' efforts to curtail Huawei's influence in the US and globally amid 5G infrastructure rollouts. Just last month, the US Federal Communications Commission formally designated Huawei as a national security threat

In a press conference on Wednesday, Pompeo also commended the UK for banning Huawei 5G equipment and planning to phase out existing Huawei equipment. "The UK joins the United States and now many other democracies in becoming 'clean countries' -- nations free of untrusted 5G vendors," he said. 

The new visa restriction also comes amid broader diplomatic tensions between the US and China. A day earlier, President Trump announced he had signed legislation sanctioning China for suppressing freedoms in Hong Kong, as well as an executive order ending US preferential treatment for Hong Kong.