BEIJING – China on Friday accused Washington of improperly targeting Chinese companies after genetic analysis giant BGI Group and 17 others were hit with restrictions on access to US technology on security or human rights grounds.
The Commerce Department said it saw a risk that two BGI units could contribute to the government’s surveillance machinery, which human rights groups say is trying to create a database of genetic samples that Muslims and other minorities have been forced to provide.
Other companies have been cited by Iran and Pakistan for their role in military modernization or weapons development by the ruling Communist Party, and allegations of human rights abuses in Myanmar.
Washington has accused China of attempting to use civilian companies to obtain processor chips, aerospace and other technology that can be used to make weapons. Beijing replies that the US government is trying to stop potential commercial competitors.
The United States is “making up excuses to suppress Chinese companies,” said State Department spokeswoman Mao Ning. She urged Washington to “abandon ideological prejudice” and “stop using various excuses to unduly repress Chinese companies.”
Mao said Beijing will “firmly protect the legitimate rights of its companies” but gave no indication of possible retaliation. The government has made similar statements following previous US restrictions, but often fails to take action.
BGI Research and BGI Tech Solutions (Hong Kong) Co., Ltd. have been placed on an “entity list” that requires them to obtain government approval to acquire sensitive US technology.
Their genetic analysis “poses a significant risk of contributing to minority surveillance and oppression,” the Commerce Department said. There is 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 northwest China.
Beijing retaliated for earlier US restrictions by creating its own list of “unreliable entities” of foreign companies that could threaten China’s national sovereignty, security or development interests.
The Lockheed Martin Corp. and Raytheon Technologies Corp.’s Raytheon Missiles and Defense Unit. were blacklisted last month after supplying arms to Taiwan, the island democracy claimed by Beijing as part of its territory. They are prohibited from importing goods into China or making new investments in the country.
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https://www.local10.com/business/2023/03/03/china-accuses-us-of-attacking-companies-after-export-curbs/ China accuses the US of attacking companies after export restrictions