China signals it will hit back over US tech blacklist, says will protect its sovereign security

The blacklist targets 20 Chinese public security bureaus and eight companies including video surveillance firm Hikvision, as well as leaders in facial recognition technology SenseTime and Megvii Technology.
The blacklist targets 20 Chinese public security bureaus and eight companies including video surveillance firm Hikvision, as well as leaders in facial recognition technology SenseTime and Megvii Technology.PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING (REUTERS, BLOOMBERG) - China's Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday (Oct 8) that Beijing will continue to take firm and resolute measures to protect its sovereign security, signalling that it would retaliate against the US blacklisting of Chinese firms.

The United States should correct its wrong ways and stop interfering in China's affairs, Geng Shuang, a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry, said at a regular news briefing.

The US government on Monday expanded its trade blacklist to include some of China's top artificial intelligence startups, saying it was in reaction to Beijing's treatment of Muslim minorities. The move ratcheted up tensions ahead of high-level trade talks in Washington this week.

The decision targets 20 Chinese public security bureaus and eight companies including video surveillance firm Hikvision , as well as leaders in facial recognition technology SenseTime and Megvii Technology.

The Chinese government agencies added to the US Commerce Department's so-called "Entity List" include the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region People's Government Public Security Bureau as well as municipal and county public security bureaus.

US officials said the announcement was not tied to this week's resumption of trade talks with China. Being added to the"Entity List" bars companies or other entities from buying parts and components from American companies without US government approval.

Asked on Tuesday if China would retaliate over the blacklist, Mr Geng told reporters to "stay tuned". He also said China would take steps to "safeguard its interests" and denied that the government abused human rights in the far west region of Xinjiang.

The Commerce Department had said in a filing that the "entities have been implicated in human rights violations and abuses 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".

"The US Government and Department of Commerce cannot and will not tolerate the brutal suppression of ethnic minorities within China," said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross.

 

Hikvision and Megvii said on Tuesday in separate statements that they strongly opposed the US blacklisting, and that the decision "has no basis in fact". SenseTime said it was "deeply disappointed" in the US decision.