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Biden administration expands investment ban on Chinese companies

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President Biden signed an executive order prohibiting Americans from investing in Chinese companies tied to the country’s military or selling surveillance equipment used to suppress protests or religious minorities both inside and outside China. The new presidential order, which would affect 59 companies, including Huawei Technologies Co. and the country’s three biggest telecommunications companies will take effect on August 2nd. The firm list will be updated on a regular basis.

It builds on previous President Donald Trump’s directive from November, which prohibited investment in a first group of Chinese businesses whose security systems were used by the government. According to the White House, the decision to broaden the scope of the order was that they sell surveillance technology and support China’s military. The executive order does not specify how the monitoring technology was used, but US officials have previously raised concern about China’s use of facial recognition and other monitoring techniques against the Uyghur minority and pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.

Wang Wenbin, a spokesman for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, stated that China will retaliate against the recent sanctions. Tensions between the two countries have already been heightened by political conflicts. A high-level meeting between the US and Chinese officials in Alaska in March culminated in an extraordinary diplomatic confrontation. Recently, the two sides have clashed on a number of issues, including serious human rights violations in Xinjiang and the origins of Covid-19.

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