Two US-China stories seemed to occur independently of each other yesterday. First up, Best Buy and Home Depot pulled security cameras made by some Chinese companies linked to Uyghur surveillance. Both US retail giants have stopped selling products from Lorex and Ezviz, while Lowe's no longer carries products by the former. The US government added parent companies Dahua and Hikvision to its economic blacklist in 2019 for their role in the mass surveillance of Uyghur Muslims in the province of Xinjiang. Human rights groups believe over a million Uyghurs are being detained in internment camps, but China continues to deny the allegations.
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Commerce Department on Monday placed 28 Chinese public security bureaus and companies -- including video surveillance company Hikvision and seven other companies -- on a U.S. trade blacklist over Beijing's treatment of Uighur Muslims and other predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities. Those added to the so-called Entity List include the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region People's Government Public Security Bureau, 19 subordinate government agencies and eight commercial firms, according to a Commerce Department filing. The companies include some of China's leading artificial intelligence firms such as SenseTime Group Ltd., and Megvii Technology Ltd., which is backed by Alibaba, as well as Hikvision, formally known as Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Co. Ltd., Zhejiang Dahua Technology, IFLYTEK Co. Xiamen Meiya Pico Information Co., and Yixin Science and Technology Co. Megvii filed for an IPO this summer of at least $500 million in Hong Kong, while SenseTime raised $620 million in a second round of funding in just two months last year and is one of the world's most valuable unicorns in artificial intelligence. While U.S. officials said the announcement was not tied to this week's resumption of trade talks with China, the announcement sets the tone for a potentially more aggressive positioning by Washington in negotiations with Beijing to end an 15 month trade war between the world's biggest economies. Reuters reported on the planned additions earlier on Monday, before the Commerce Department made it official.
Visitors are tracked by face recognition technology from state-owned surveillance equipment manufacturer Hikvision at the Security China 2018 expo in Beijing. Hikvision is one of several firms that have been added to a U.S. trade blacklist. Visitors are tracked by face recognition technology from state-owned surveillance equipment manufacturer Hikvision at the Security China 2018 expo in Beijing. Hikvision is one of several firms that have been added to a U.S. trade blacklist. The Commerce Department has issued a list of 28 state security bureaus and tech companies in China that it says are being used to suppress the country's Uighur Muslims and other ethnic minorities – a move that blocks them from doing business with U.S. firms.
The U.S. government expanded its trade blacklist to include some of China's top artificial intelligence startups, punishing Beijing for its treatment of Muslim minorities and ratcheting up tensions ahead of high-level trade talks in Washington this week. The decision, almost certain to draw a sharp response from Beijing, targets 20 Chinese public security bureaus and eight companies including video surveillance firm Hikvision, as well as leaders in facial recognition technology SenseTime Group Ltd and Megvii Technology Ltd. The action bars the firms from buying components from U.S. companies without U.S. government approval – a potentially crippling move. It follows the same blueprint used by Washington in its attempt to limit the influence of Huawei Technologies for what it says are national security reasons. U.S. officials said the action was not tied to this week's resumption of trade talks with China, but it signals no let-up in U.S. President Donald Trump's hard-line stance as the world's two biggest economies seek to end their 15-month trade war.
At least half of London's boroughs have bought and deployed China-made surveillance systems linked to the abuse of Uighurs, according to data exclusively given to the Thomson Reuters Foundation, raising alarm among privacy advocates and lawmakers. Freedom of information requests filed in late 2020 with all 32 London councils and the next 20 largest U.K. city councils found about two-thirds owned technology made by two Chinese companies accused of links to the repression of Uighurs. At least 28 councils owned technology made by Hikvision, the world's largest purveyor of video surveillance systems and vendor to Xinjiang police agencies, revealed data obtained by digital rights researcher Samuel Woodhams and seen exclusively by the Thomson Reuters Foundation. Seven councils had technology made by Zhejiang Dahua Technology Co., China's second-largest maker of surveillance equipment. In total, 16 London councils had technology made by Hikvision or Dahua -- both of which face strict trade restrictions in the United States.