Many companies in the United States appear unsure of how to approach their relationship with China amid the country’s reported censorship and mass detention of the minority Uighur ethnic group, as well as other predominantly Muslim minorities.
In an aggressive move, Donald Trump’s administration recently blacklisted 28 Chinese organizations over concerns about their connection to human rights violations in China’s campaign targeting Muslims, The New York Times reports. In particular, the administration hit China’s new class of artificial intelligence startups as well as two of the world’s largest manufacturers of video surveillance products, Hikvision and Dahua Technology, which could harm China’s goal of moving to the top of the list of global exporters of surveillance technology.
“This action constricts the export of items subject to the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) to entities that have been implicated in human rights violations and abuses in China’s campaign targeting Uighurs and other predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR),” reads a press release from the Commerce Department, per The Daily Wire.
Hikvision responded with a statement claiming that it has been attempting to address the Trump administration’s human rights concerns, suggesting that the blacklist will have a negative effect on its United States business partners and harm the U.S. economy.
BREAKING: U.S. imposes export controls on Chinese surveillance firms days before U.S.-China trade talks re-start. These firms supply the equipment that allows the government to surveil the country's Uighur minority group. pic.twitter.com/3zJgNIVSSM— Patrick Lozada (@patrick_lozada) October 7, 2019
The Trump administration is not always been unwavering in its condemnation of human rights abuses. While Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called China’s Uighur treatment the “stain of the century,” some officials urge that human rights concerns should be separate from economic priorities. Regardless, Trump often links trade talks with concerns such as national security.
The decision comes during the same month as the U.S. plans to impose hundreds of billions in tariffs on Chinese imports. It also comes not long after the Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey came under fire for tweeting support for protesters in Hong Kong. Morey later deleted the tweet, and Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta clarified that his views were not aligned with the companies. But NBA commissioner Adam Silver and others defended Morey, and now, Business Insider reports that Chinese state-run broadcaster CCTV has banned preseason NBA games from the country.
“Any speech challenging a country’s national sovereignty and social stability is not within the scope of freedom of speech,” the broadcaster said in a statement.
Although the Chinese Basketball Association has cut ties with the NBA and Tencent has suspended streams as of now, it’s unclear if these decisions are permanent.