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US to blacklist 8 more Chinese companies over Uyghur surveillance: Report

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The United States Treasury will place eight Chinese companies including DJI, the world’s largest commercial drone manufacturer, on an investment blacklist for alleged involvement in surveillance of the Uyghur Muslim minority, the Financial Times reported on Tuesday.

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The United States will add eight Chinese companies, including the world’s largest commercial drone manufacturer DJI Technology Co Ltd, to an investment blacklist this week, the Financial Times reported on Wednesday.

The US Treasury will put the companies on its “Chinese military-industrial complex companies” blacklist on Thursday because of their alleged involvement in surveillance of the Uyghur Muslim minority, the FT report said, citing two people briefed on the move.

US investors are barred from taking stakes in companies on the list, which currently cites around 60 firms.

A DJI spokesperson declined to comment on the FT report, but directed Reuters to the company’s statement when it was added to the US Commerce Department’s “Entity List” a year ago for the same reasons. That listing prohibited the company from buying or using US technology or components.

At the time, DJI said it had done nothing to justify the move and it would continue to sell its products in the United States, where it has built up a large market.

The US Treasury did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

The new additions would come just days after artificial intelligence start-up SenseTime Group was placed on the same Treasury list, leading the company to postpone its $767 million Hong Kong initial public offering (IPO). SenseTime said the accusations against it were unfounded.

UN 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.

Some foreign lawmakers and parliaments have labelled the treatment of Uyghurs as genocide, citing evidence of forced sterilisations and deaths inside the camps. China denies these claims and says Uyghur population growth rates are above the national average.

The FT named the other companies being added to the list as image-recognition software firm Megvii, supercomputer manufacturer Dawning Information Industry, facial recognition specialist CloudWalk Technology, cyber security group Xiamen Meiya Pico, artificial intelligence company Yitu Technology and cloud computing firms Leon Technology and NetPosa Technologies.

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