Biden expands blacklist of Chinese companies off-limits to US investors

Companies accused of using surveillance tech to 'facilitate repression or serious human rights abuses'

A storefront for Huawei, which is on a list of of several Chinese companies the Biden administration is blacklisting. AP 
A storefront for Huawei, which is on a list of of several Chinese companies the Biden administration is blacklisting. AP 

US President Joe Biden on Thursday expanded a blacklist of Chinese firms that are off-limits to American investors over their links to Beijing's "military-industrial complex".

Former president Donald Trump barred Americans from buying stakes in 31 Chinese companies that were considered to be supplying or supporting China's military and security apparatus, and Mr Biden's move expands the blacklist to 59.

The latest sanctions have been placed on companies involved in Chinese surveillance technology used to "facilitate repression or serious human rights abuses", the White House said.

Those abuses "undermine the security or democratic values of the United States and our allies".

The initial list published under Mr Trump included major telecoms, building and technology companies such as China Mobile, China Telecom, video surveillance firm Hikvision, and China Railway Construction.

It was among a series of measures by the White House that have left ties between the two countries severely strained.

Before the US order was released, Beijing repeated its outrage at the Trump-era blacklist on Thursday and vowed to protect Chinese companies' rights.

It claimed the blacklist was "politically motivated" and "ignores the facts and actual situation" of the companies involved.

The ban "severely undermines normal market rules and order" and "damages … the interests of global investors, including US investors," Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said.

Previously, the sanctions and choice of targets were tied to a congressionally mandated Defence Department report.

While the Biden administration has pledged to take a more diplomatic line with China than did Mr Trump, he has said he will keep to a strict line on issues including defence and technology.

A tough line on China has rare cross-party support in Congress, with members determined to keep a lid on Beijing's growing global influence.

Republican senators Tom Cotton and Marco Rubio, alongside Democrats Gary Peters and Mark Kelly, published a bipartisan letter earlier this week urging the administration to publish a new list.

"The US government must continue to act boldly in blocking the Chinese Communist Party's economic predation against our industrial base," they said.

Updated: June 4, 2021 03:46 AM

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