US President Joe Biden on Thursday included another 28 Chinese firms on Washington’s blacklist because of their links to Beijing's "military-industrial complex. US companies and investors are barred from entering into any deals with these companies.
Former US president Donald Trump had barred Americans from buying stakes in 31 Chinese companies that were deemed to be supplying or supporting China's military and security apparatus, the Joe Biden administration has expanded the blacklist to 59.
These companies are suspected to be stealing US technology and using it to strengthen China’s military might which has emerged as a worrying factor in Asia and the Indo-Pacific region.
The latest batch of sanctions target companies involved in Chinese surveillance technology used to "facilitate repression or serious human rights abuses," which "undermine the security or democratic values of the United States and our allies," according to a White House statement.
The initial list published under Trump included major telecoms, construction and technology firms such as China Mobile, China Telecom, video surveillance firm Hikvision, and China Railway Construction Corp.
The sanctions and companies that have been put on the blacklist are based on a detailed study carried out by the US Defence department.
While the Biden administration has pledged to take a more diplomatic line with China in comparison to the Trump era, but has said it will keep to a strict line on several issues including defense and technology.
A tough line on China has cross-party support in Congress, in view of the continued belligerent policies followed by Beijing and its role in hiding information on the coronavirus pandemic that has caused unprecedented death and suffering worldwide.
Republican senators Tom Cotton and Marco Rubio, alongside Democrats Gary Peters and Mark Kelly, published a bi-partisan letter earlier this week urging the administration to publish a new list.
"The US government must continue to act boldly in blocking the Chinese Communist Party's economic predation against our industrial base," they said.
China has criticised the US blacklist and said it would protect Chinese companies' rights, claiming the blacklist was "politically motivated" and "ignores the facts and actual situation" of the firms involved.
The ban severely undermines normal market rules and order and damages the interests of global investors, including US investors, foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said at a press briefing.