The US government expanded the ban on Americans investing in Chinese companies with purported ties to China’s military to cover companies in the surveillance technology sector, an executive order stated. The blacklist now includes 59 Chinese companies, up from the 48 banned by the previous administration last November. The new sanctions go into effect on August 2 and Americans already invested in the blacklisted firms, either directly or through other funds, must divest themselves within a year. The US government has also indicated that additional companies may be added to the list in the coming months. Aimed at surveillance technology firms Many of the newly banned companies are affiliates or subsidiaries of major state-owned companies or businesses named on the earlier blacklist. While the previous list targetted "Communist Chinese military companies," the new list targets companies in the defense and related materiel sector and "Chinese surveillance technology firms that contribute — both inside and outside China — to the surveillance of religious or ethnic minorities or otherwise facilitate repression and serious human rights abuses, a fact-sheet released by the White House stated. This includes companies that build tools used against Muslim minorities like the Uyghurs and dissidents in Hong Kong. Last December, it was revealed that Huawei worked on a facial recognition system to snoop on people from China’s Uighur community, which also had a “Uighur alarm” — to detect a person’s ethnicity and alert authorities upon spotting a person from the Uighur community. "The move comes at a moment when China is both ramping up its…
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