World

Biden tightens ban on US investments in Chinese defence, technology firms

In continuation of the United States’ hard-line policy against China, President Joe Biden has tightened a ban on American investments in Chinese defence and surveillance technology companies.

An executive order Biden signed on Thursday listed 59 companies, including Huawei Technologies Co. and video surveillance company Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Co, that are subject to the prohibitions.

The ban will take effect on August 2.

Many of the companies in Biden’s order were reportedly blacklisted under the previous Trump administration.

The White House said Biden’s executive order not only prevents US investment from supporting the Chinese defence sector, but also expands the US government’s ability to address the “threat” of Chinese firms that contribute to the surveillance of religious or ethnic minorities or facilitate serious human rights abuses.

The Biden administration has been increasingly concerned over Beijing’s human rights abuses against the Muslim Uyghur minority in China’s far-western Xinjiang region, who are said to be under heavy surveillance.

In November, then president Donald Trump had issued an order to block investment in Chinese firms that Washington viewed as supporting China’s military, saying that Beijing “exploits” US investors to finance the development and modernization of its military.

But the action faced legal challenges, with Chinese smartphone giant Xiaomi Corp. ending up being removed from the blacklist.

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