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Biden blacklists more Chinese firms, US sticks to Trump-era hard line

The US imposes new sanctions on China (Photo: IANS)

The US has blacklisted another 14 Chinese companies for human rights abuses of Muslim minorities in Xinjiang and stealing American technology to beef up the communist nation’s military might.

“The Department of Commerce remains firmly committed to taking strong, decisive action to target entities that are enabling human rights abuses in Xinjiang or that use U.S. technology to fuel China’s destabilizing military modernization efforts," Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said in a statement.

The companies that have been blacklisted include the China Academy of Electronics and Information Technology, Xinjiang Lianhai Chuangzhi Information Technology Co, Shenzhen Cobber Information Technology Co, Beijing Geling Shentong Information Technology and Shenzhen Hua'antai Intelligent Technology.

 The Commerce Department said on Friday it was adding a total of 34 entities to the blacklist including some from Russia and Iran, and five entities directly supporting China's military modernization programs related to lasers and battle management system. The list includes eight entities for facilitating the export of U.S. items to Iran.

US President Joe Biden is continuing with his predecessor Donald Trump’s hard line as far as China is concerned.  Friday’s blacklisting comes close on the heels of 28 Chinese firms that were put on Washington’s blacklist in June this year because of their links to Beijing's "military-industrial complex.” US companies and investors are barred from entering into any deals with these companies.

The Joe Biden administration has now over the last month expanded the blacklist by another 42 companies.

These companies are suspected to be stealing US technology and using it to strengthen China’s military and fuel its belligerent foreign policy which has emerged as a worrying factor in Asia and the Indo-Pacific region.

The initial list published under Trump included major telecom companies, construction and technology firms such as Huawei, 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.

Biden’s tough stand on China has cross-party support in the US Congress, in view of the fierce expansionist ambitions of the Xi Jinping regime and Beijing’s role in hiding information on the coronavirus pandemic that has caused unprecedented death and suffering worldwide.

Former US President Donald Trump had towards the fag end of his tenure blacklisted another 58 major Chinese companies which were barred from buying goods or technology from American firms as Beijing was using these firms to build the dragon’s military muscle.

Seven subsidiary companies of Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) figured on the list. American corporate giants General Electric Co and Honeywell International both have joint ventures with AVIC and supply Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC), which is spearheading Chinese efforts to compete with Boeing Co and Airbus.

This list had come in addition to dozens of other Chinese companies such as telecom giant Huawei, top chipmaker SMIC and drone manufacturer SZ DJI Technology which were already put on a trade blacklist by the Trump administration.

China, on its part, dismisses accusations of genocide and forced labour in Xinjiang and says its policies are necessary to stamp out separatists and religious extremists.

 "The Chinese side will take all necessary measures to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies and rejects U.S. attempts to interfere in China's internal affairs," said foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin on Friday.

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