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Chinese companies added to US blacklist for violating rights of Uighur Muslims

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The United States is getting tough with Chinese tech companies that it has identified as violating the rights of Muslims, in the vast Asian nation’s jurisdiction – including that by now fairly well internationally known Uighur minority.

A total of eight companies have been named in the US government’s list compiled to this effect, TechCrunch writes.

The list, according to the report, names a total of 28 organizations. Most of these have been identified as affiliated with China’s government, and their transgression, according to Washington, is involvement in China’s “campaign of repression, mass arbitrary detention, and high-technology surveillance against Uighurs, Kazakhs and other members of Muslim minority groups.”

TechCrunch backs up these claims by reporting about the United Nations data – which shows that in China, “12 Muslim residents of Xinjiang region, or about a million people, are being held in detention camps, where they are subjected to forced labor and torture.”

Among the companies prominently targeted in these latest US policy moves are SenseTime and Megvii.

The former is the planet’s most highly valued startup, according to the report – and if that wasn’t enough to claim its tech fame, and make it a prominent target – the company also has some pretty sophisticated surveillance software and accompanying gear in its portfolio. Like, for example, China’s “CCTV cameras and smart glasses worn by police officers.”

Some of the accusations leveled against China’s tech companies by the US seem to deal with their rather advanced facial recognition tech; TechCrunch quotes a New York Times report that described one of the eight entities, Hikvision, as developing a recognition system “designed to identify ethnic minorities” – but then also, as having “began phasing it out last year.”

Megvii, meanwhile, is a Chinese facial recognition software champion – the company stands behind Face++ and Yitu Technology.

In the real world – what does all this really mean? According to the report – “the impact of the blacklisting will depend on how deeply entrenched each company is with US business partners.”

But the sense seems to be that China’s tech companies are factoring in, at least in immediate economical terms, a reduction of their reliance on American technology – “in light of the trade war.”

TechCrunch said that Chinese giant Huawei’s founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei said he thought the company would lose $30 billion in revenue after being included on the Entity List.

The website is also reporting that it reached out to all eight Chinese companies on this updated US list. Only one of them was apparently immediately in a mood to comment – namely, Hikvision.

The company said it was the security industry’s global leader that respects human rights regulations around the world.

“Hikvision has been engaging with (US) Administration officials over the past 12 months to clarify misunderstandings about the company and address their concerns,” a statement said.

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