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China slams the US for placing Chinese firms on a trade blacklist

Image: Reuters

China slammed the US on Thursday for putting a dozen Chinese companies on a trade blacklist for national security and foreign policy concerns, noting in some cases their assistance in boosting China’s quantum computing initiatives.

The placement of China to the US Commerce Department’s blacklist comes amid rising tensions between Beijing and Washington over Taiwan’s status and trade concerns.

Several Chinese and Pakistani businesses and individuals have also been added to the Commerce Department’s Entity List for their involvement in Pakistan’s nuclear or ballistic missile programs, according to the department.

A total of 27 new entities from China, Japan, Pakistan, and Singapore have been added to the list.

Shu Jueting, a spokesperson for the Chinese commerce ministry, said at a news conference on Thursday that China strongly opposes the sanctions against Chinese enterprises and will make sincere complaints to the US.

The new listings, according to Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, will help prevent U.S. technology from helping Chinese and Russian “military advancement and non-proliferation concern activities like Pakistan’s unsafeguarded nuclear activities or ballistic missile program.”

The Chinese embassy in Washington claimed that the US “abuses state power to prohibit and limit Chinese firms in every way possible” by “using the catch-all notion of national security.”

“China is firmly opposed to that,” said Liu Pengyu, the embassy’s spokeswoman.

He said the US should “follow the spirit” of last week’s virtual meeting between US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping and “meet China halfway rather than continuing down the wrong path.”

At a conference on Thursday, Zhao Lijian, a spokeswoman for the Chinese foreign ministry, warned that China will take all necessary actions to defend its firms and reserves the right to take countermeasures against the penalties.

Hangzhou Zhongke Microelectronics Co Ltd, Hunan Goke Microelectronics, New H3C Semiconductor Technologies Co Ltd, Xi’an Aerospace Huaxun Technology, and Yunchip Microelectronics were placed on the Commerce Department’s entity list for their “support of the People’s Liberation Army’s military modernization,” according to the Commerce Department.

It also added Hefei National Laboratory for Physical Sciences at Microscale, QuantumCTek, and Shanghai QuantumCTeck Co Ltd to the list for “acquiring and endeavoring to get US-origin materials for military applications.”

The eight Chinese companies were blacklisted in order to prevent American technology from being utilized to assist China in developing quantum computing applications for its military.

The Commerce Department seeks to restrict the Chinese military from developing counter-stealth technology, such as sophisticated radars and counter-submarine applications like undersea sensors. According to the Commerce Department, the move also prevents US material from being used to help China break encryption or develop unbreakable encryption.

Suppliers to companies on the entity list will have to apply for a license, which will almost certainly be denied.

Separately, the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology was added to the Commerce Department’s list of military end users, but the description provided no additional information other than the fact that it had manufactured military equipment.

Since the Trump administration, the entity list has been increasingly used for national security and international policy purposes. In 2019, Huawei, a Chinese telecom giant, was added, cutting it off from certain important suppliers and making it impossible for it to manufacture mobile handsets.

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