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US blacklists another 58 big Chinese companies with military links

The US has blacklisted another 58 major Chinese companies which will not be allowed to buy goods or technology from American firms as Beijing is using these companies to build the dragon’s military muscle.

Seven subsidiary companies of Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) figure on the list which has been published on the US Commerce Department website. 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. Washington wants to cut off such links which enable China to get ready access to goods and technology from leading US companies.

The ban could beyond this list as the Commerce Department has issued an advisory asking all US companies to do their own due diligence as well when dealing with Chinese companies to ensure that they do not have any military ties. It has expanded the definition of “military end-users,” to include any person or entity that supports or contributes to the maintenance or production of military items even if their business is primarily non-military.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on Monday the action establishes a new process “to assist exporters in screening their customers for military end-users.”

The new list comes 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.

The initiative forms part of the strategy to decouple the US economy from China which has exploited western technology and markets to build a monster of an economy that has been fuelling its military build-up. Beijing’s belligerent foreign policy has been a direct offshoot of this.

The move comes at the fag-end of the Trump administration’s tenure which is making a big push against China and highlights the risks posed by the close relationship between some Chinese companies and the Chinese government. Analysts are of the view that the policy will be continued under the Biden administration as well.

A massive data leak earlier this month exposed China’s devious strategy of carrying out worldwide industrial espionage to build its technology base by infiltrating multinational corporations.

‘The Australian’ newspaper obtained the leaked database which has the names of around two million Communist Party of China (CCP) members along with their party position, birth-date, national ID number and ethnicity.

The companies that are reported to have been infiltrated by the Chinese spy network include the world’s leading manufacturers such as US plane-maker Boeing, auto giant Volkswagen, pharmaceutical majors like Pfizer and AstraZeneca, and banks such as ANZ and HSBC. According to the documents, around 600 people at HSBC, Standard Chartered banks are CCP members.

Around 79,000 CCP branches have been set up inside western companies where members, if called on, are answerable directly to the Communist Party and President Xi himself, the reports said.

The data was reportedly extracted from a server in Shanghai in 2016 by Chinese dissidents, who used it for counter-intelligence purposes. It was later leaked to the international bipartisan group the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China, before being sent to the international consortium of four media organisations – <em>The Australian</em>, the UK’s <em>Mail on Sunday</em>, Belgium’s <em>De Standaard</em> and a Swedish editor..