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US curbs Chinese drone maker DJI, other firms it accuses of aiding rights abuses

US curbs Chinese drone maker DJI, other firms it accuses of aiding rights abuses

FILE PHOTO: The Chinese national flag is seen in Beijing, China April 29, 2020. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

WASHINGTON: The US Commerce Department hit several Chinese companies with export restrictions on Thursday (Dec 16), citing national security reasons including what Washington says is their roles in the oppression of China's Uyghurs or helping Beijing's military.

A senior administration official had said earlier in the day the Commerce Department and Treasury Departments would announce a series of actions on Thursday targeting Chinese companies that Washington says use biotechnology and surveillance to abuse human rights.

The Chinese Embassy in Washington did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

The US move on Thursday followed a US investment ban placed last week on Chinese facial recognition company SenseTime, and could worsen already rocky relations between Beijing and Washington.

Aside from China, the Commerce Department also took action against entities from Georgia, Malaysia, and Turkey for allegedly "diverting or attempting to divert US items to Iran’s military programs."

Citing their role in the Chinese government's alleged oppression of ethnic Uyghurs, the Commerce Department added China's Academy of Military Medical Sciences and its 11 research institutes to its list of companies and institutions, restricting access to exports.

The department also added HMN International, formerly Huawei Marine, as well as Jiangsu Hengtong Marine Cable Systems, Jiangsu Hengtong OpticElectric, Shanghai Aoshi Control Technology Co, and Zhongtian Technology Submarine Cable to the list for allegedly acquiring, or attempting to acquire, technology from the United States to help modernize the People's Liberation Army.

UN experts and rights groups estimate more than a million people, mainly Uyghurs and members of other Muslim minorities, have been detained in recent years in a vast system of camps in China's far-west region of Xinjiang.

China denies abuses in Xinjiang.

"These (Thursday's) actions come in the broader context of the administration's efforts to address the misuse of technology to surveil, and in many cases, as with the PRC, to exercise large scale repressive social control," the senior official told reporters, referring to the People's Republic of China.

Source: Reuters/dv/ec
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