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U.S. takes action against Chinese tech entities for abuses of biotechnology

U.S. takes action against Chinese tech entities for abuses of biotechnology
The U.S. Commerce Department and Treasury Department on Thursday took action against dozens of Chinese technology entities for alleged abuses of biotechnology including the development of "brain-control weapons." File Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 16 (UPI) -- The United States on Thursday imposed trade restrictions on 34 Chinese research institutes and entities citing efforts to develop and deploy biotechnology for military applications and human rights abuses.

The U.S. Commerce Department's Bureau of Industry and Security blacklisted the entities, including China's Academy of Military Medical Sciences and 11 of its research institutes for allegedly using biotechnology "to support Chinese military end uses and end users, to include purported brain-control weaponry," according to a notice in the Federal Register.

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"The scientific pursuit of biotechnology and medical innovation can save lives. Unfortunately, the PRC is choosing to use these technologies to pursue control over its people and its repression of members of ethnic and religious minority groups," U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo said.

U.S. and Western officials have said as many as 2 million Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in China's Xinjiang province have been placed in a network of detention centers and while in custody there, they have been subjected to forced labor, torture and sexual abuse prompting numerous sanctions and other punitive measures against Beijing.

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Other entities added to the Commerce Department's Entity List Thursday included four Chinese companies accused of taking part in modernizing China's military and five others that allegedly took part in "acquiring or attempting to acquire technology from the United States to help modernize the People's Liberation Army."

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Also Thursday the Treasury Department sanctioned eight Chinese tech entities for actively supporting the "biometric surveillance and tracking of ethnic and religious minorities in China," particularly the Uyghurs in Xinjiang.

The entities identified included Cloudwalk Technology, Dawning Information Industry, Leon Technology Company, Megvii Technology, Netposa Technologies, SZ DJI Technology, Xiamen Meiya Pico Information and Yitu Limited.

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"Today's action highlights how private firms in China's defense and surveillance technology sectors are actively cooperating with the government's efforts to repress members of ethnic and religious minority groups," Undersecretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson said. "Treasury remains committed to ensuring that the U.S. financial system and American investors are not supporting these activities."

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