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US plans to blacklist up to five Chinese surveillance companies.


Date: 23-05-2019
Subject: US plans to blacklist up to five Chinese surveillance companies
WASHINGTON: The US is considering cutting off the flow of vital American technology to as many as five Chinese companies including Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology widening the dragnet beyond Huawei to include world leaders in video surveillance. 

The US is deliberating whether to add Hikvision, Zhejiang Dahua Technology Co and several unidentified others to a blacklist that bars them from US components or software, people familiar with the matter said. The Trump administration is concerned about their role in helping Beijing repress minority Uighurs in China’s west, they said, asking not to be identified talking about private deliberations. There’s concern also that Hikvision’s or Dahua’s cameras, which come with facial recognition capabilities, could be employed in espionage, the people said. 

Such a move would escalate tensions with China and raises questions about whether the US is going after more of the country’s corporate champions. Trump’s administration last week barred Huawei Technologies from American technology, a move that pummeled shares in US chipmakers from Qualcomm Inc to Intel Corp, and threatens to dampen global economic growth and disrupt the rollout of critical next-generation wireless networks. Chinese offshore yuan erased earlier gains after Bloomberg’s report. 

Shares of Hikvision and Dahua plunged in Shenzhen after the New York Times first reported on the potential ban. Both companies have been accused by human rights groups of facilitating Beijing’s persecution of the Uighurs, a Muslim ethnic group, in the western region of Xinjiang. The Trump administration however has held off on taking action because of sensitive trade negotiations with China, the people said. Those talks have since stalled. 

It’s unclear which other companies may join Huawei on the socalled Entities List, which prohibits the sale of American technology without a special license. Chinese firms such as Hikvision and Dahua are the world’s largest purveyors of surveillance hardware, along with smaller rival Yitu Technology. Others such as Sense-Time Group Ltd. and Face++ parent Megvii specialise in image processing software and are less reliant on American components. 

“We hope the company receives a fair and just treatment,” Hikvision’s secretary of the board, Huang Fanghong, said in a statement. Dahua representatives had no immediate comment. 

Source: economictimes.indiatimes.com

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