U.S. Blacklists Megvii, SenseTime Among 28 Chinese Entities on Foreign Policy Claims

U.S. regulators alleged the entities violated human rights in China’s campaign targeting Uighurs and other predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities in northwest China.

Author: Belinda Zhou   

Washington has imposed sanctions on 28 Chinese companies this week "for engaging in or enabling activities contrary to the foreign policy interests of the United States," according to an announcement posted this week by the Bureau of Industry and Security of the Department of Commerce.

U.S. regulators said the entities violated human rights in China's campaign targeting Uighurs and other predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities in northwest China. They will be restricted in exporting certain items from American companies, the statement said.

The listed Chinese firms contain two AI startups backed by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (NYSE: BABA), Megvii Technology and SenseTime. Other companies are Dahua Technology Co., IFLYTEK, Xiamen Meiya Pico Information Co., Yitu Technologies and Yixin Science & Technology Co., among others.

"This action will ensure that our technologies, fostered in an environment of individual liberty and free enterprise, are not used to repress defenseless minority populations," Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said in the statement.

Following the move, Hikvison, Hangzhou-based CCTV & video surveillance company, suspended the trading of its stock in Shenzhen on Tuesday. The company stated the ban has no factual basis and called on the U.S. government to re-examine the action in "a fair, just and non-discriminatory way", according to the secretary of the board from Hikvison. SenseTime and Megvii responded with similar statements.

"The ban is not a game-changer," Jiang Wu, the professor of East Asian Studies at the University of Arizona, told CapitalWatch in an interview on Tuesday. "The issues of the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region and Hong Kong are concerns of national security, for which China has no tolerance. In my estimation, China will respond this evening and cancel the visit of Liu He to Washington."