News roundup: Entity list grows as US target 28 more Chinese-based organisations
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News roundup: Entity list grows as US target 28 more Chinese-based organisations

More Chinese firms added to the entity list

Donald Trump may well have reported ‘very, very good negotiations' with China in the trade talks taking place in Washington this week,  although before the talks took place, the US was showing absolutely no sign of slowing down in its bans on Chinese companies. On Monday, the US Commerce Department announced that it would add 28 Chinese companies - including 8 tech companies - to the ever expanding ‘Entity list', which effectively bans them from doing business with US-based companies. The list is the same one that Chinese tech giant Huawei was added to earlier in the year, and it's not exactly the kind of exclusive club that you want to be a part of.

The US says the bans - which mostly included Chinese Government agencies - were levied on the entities due to their alleged involvement ‘‘in the implementation of China's campaign of repression, mass arbitrary detention, and high-technology surveillance against Uighurs, Kazakhs and other members of Muslim minority groups" in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. As TechCrunch points out, United Nations data suggests that up to one in 12 Muslim residents of the Xinjiang region (about a million people) are being held in detention camps, where they are subject to forced labour and torture.

In a Statement, Commerce Secretary Wibur Ross said, "The U.S. government and Department of Commerce cannot and will not tolerate the brutal suppression of ethnic minorities within China.''

Some of the tech-based organisations included in the new additions to the Entity List include video manufacturers Dahua Technology and Hikvision, as well as range of AI companies including Yitu, Megvii, SenseTime and iFlyTek. Digital forensics company Meiya Pico, and Yixin Technology company are also subject to the restrictions. One of the more interesting of these additions is probably SenseTime, as they currently hold the title of the world's most highly valued AI startup, suppling software to Chinese Government entities for their national surveillance systems.

While a US commerce department spokesperson assured that the additions were in no way related to the trade talks, the move is unlikely to curry any favor. The implementation of such bans has the potential to severely hamper the capacity of these firms to operate internationally, not just in the United States, but also other allied nations. For this reason, though, the bans are likely to have a varied effect, as many Chinese firms have a predominant and increasing focus on their domestic markets.

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Pat Martlew

Patrick Martlew is a technology enthusiast and editorial guru that works the digital enterprise beat in London. After making his tech writing debut in Sydney, he has now made his way to the UK where he works to cover the very latest trends and provide top-grade expert analysis.

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