USA blacklists 8 Chinese tech companies over human rights issues

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The move comes days before high-level trade talks resume in Washington between the U.S. and China.

China must end its draconian surveillance and repression, release all those arbitrarily detained, and cease its coercion of Chinese Muslims overseas, the USA secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, said in a statement. The move comes ahead of high-level trade talks in Washington on October 10.

Hikvision, China's biggest video surveillance system provider, "strongly opposed" the decision. Equity benchmarks across Asia rose earlier as trading showed little concern about ongoing unrest in Hong Kong.

Sophie Richardson, the China director at New York-based Human Rights Watch, called the blacklisting a "significant move by the Trump administration in response to gross human rights violations in Xinjiang", and expressed hope that it would bring pressure to bear on Beijing.

Computer vision giant Megvii, backed by Alibaba Group, also said in a statement that the company will take countermeasures and continue to provide customers with stable and high-quality services.

It adds that John Honovich, founder of surveillance video research company IPVM, said Hikvision and Dahua both use Intel, Nvidia, Ambarella, Western Digital and Seagate Technology as suppliers and that the impact on the Chinese companies would be "devastating".

Beijing is resisting US pressure to roll back plans for government-led development of global competitors in robotics and other technologies.

Hikvision and Dahua, listed on Chinese stock exchanges, suspended trading on Tuesday, while Shanghai-listed Iflytek closed down almost 3%.

"Today, I am announcing: Visa restrictions on Chinese government and Communist Party officials who are believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, the detention or abuse of Uighurs, Kazakhs, or other members of Muslim minority groups in Xinjiang, China [.] Family members of such persons may also be subject to these restrictions", Pompeo said.

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The foreign ministry's Geng accused the USA of having "sinister intentions".

"Xinjiang affairs are purely China's internal affairs and brook no interference from any country", spokesperson Geng Shuang said at a press briefing.

Hikvision and Dahua join other high-profile Chinese tech firms Huawei and ZTE, which were placed on the Entity List in August.

The comments came after the U.S. government placed eight Chinese technology giants on a USA blacklist on Monday, accusing them of being implicated in human rights violations.

"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", the company added.

Geng demanded that the US withdraw its decision and rejected accusations of rights abuses in the XUAR, which he called "made-up pretexts for [U.S.] interference", adding that policies in the region are aimed at eradicating "extremism and terrorism". On Monday, Trump said he was hoping for a "humane solution" in a city where protests have grown increasingly violent.

The American side would be led by US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin. The White House in May had readied the sanctions package for surveillance technology companies accused of human rights violations, but made a decision to hold back because of the trade negotiations.

The 28 entities blacklisted include 18 public security bureaus in Xinjiang, a police college and eight businesses.

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