HomeTop StoriesChina accuses the US of attacking companies over export restrictions

China accuses the US of attacking companies over export restrictions

BEIJING (AP) — China on Friday accused Washington of improperly targeting Chinese companies after genetics analytics giant BGI Group and 17 others were barred from accessing US technology on security or human rights grounds.

The Commerce Department said it saw a risk of two BGI units contributing to the government’s surveillance apparatus, which human rights groups say is trying to build a database of genetic samples that Muslims and other minorities were required to provide.

Other companies were named for their role in the military modernization or weapons development of the ruling Communist Party by Iran and Pakistan and alleged human rights violations in Myanmar.

Washington has accused China of trying to use civilian companies to obtain processor chips, aerospace and other technologies that could be used to make weapons. Beijing replies that the US government is trying to block potential commercial competitors.

The United States is making “excuses to suppress Chinese companies,” said State Department spokeswoman Mao Ning. She called on Washington to “let go of the ideological biases” and “stop using various excuses to unreasonably suppress Chinese enterprises”.

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Mao said Beijing would “firmly protect the legitimate rights of its companies,” but gave no indication of possible retaliatory action. The government has made similar statements in response to previous US restrictions, but often takes no action.

BGI Research and BGI Tech Solutions (Hong Kong) Co., Ltd. have been added to an “Entity List” that requires them to obtain government approval to acquire sensitive US technology.

Their genetic analysis “presents a significant risk of contributing” to the surveillance and repression of minorities, the Department of Commerce said. It said there was a “significant risk of diversion” to military programs.

BGI Group did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

BGI previously denied allegations that it provided technology to monitor Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in northwestern China.

Beijing retaliated against previous US restrictions by drawing up its own list of “untrustworthy entities” of foreign companies that could endanger China’s national sovereignty, security or development interests.

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Lockheed Martin Corp. and Raytheon Technologies Corp.’s Raytheon Missiles and Defense unit were added to the restricted list last month after supplying weapons to Taiwan, the island democracy Beijing claims as part of its territory. They are not allowed to import goods into China or make new investments in the country.

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