The U.S. Commerce Department hit several Chinese companies with export restrictions on Thursday, citing national security reasons including what Washington says is their role in oppressing China's Uyghurs or helping Beijing's military, APA reports citing Reuters.
A senior administration official had said earlier in the day the Commerce Department and Treasury Departments would announce a series of actions on Thursday targeting Chinese companies that the Biden Administration accuses of using biotechnology and surveillance to abuse human rights.
The Chinese Embassy in Washington did not respond immediately to a request for comment.
The U.S. move on Thursday followed a U.S. investment ban placed last week on Chinese facial recognition company SenseTime, and could worsen already rocky relations between Beijing and Washington.
Citing their role in the Chinese government's alleged oppression of ethnic Uyghurs, the Commerce Department added China's Academy of Military Medical Sciences and its 11 research institutes to its list of companies and institutions, restricting access to exports.
The department also added HMN International, formerly Huawei Marine, as well as Jiangsu Hengtong Marine Cable Systems, Jiangsu Hengtong OpticElectric, Shanghai Aoshi Control Technology Co., Ltd., and Zhongtian Technology Submarine Cable to the list for allegedly acquiring, or attempting to acquire, technology from the United States to help modernize the People's Liberation Army.
U.N. experts and rights groups estimate more than a million people, mainly Uyghurs and members of other Muslim minorities, have been detained in recent years in a vast system of camps in China's far-west region of Xinjiang.