The U.S. is blacklisting Chinese tech companies that it says have helped to subjugate ethnic minorities in China.
The Commerce Department announced Monday it will add 28 Chinese governmental and commercial organizations to its "entity list" "for engaging in or enabling activities contrary to the foreign policy interests of the United States."
That means U.S. companies must get government approval to sell technology to those Chinese companies.
The U.S. says the companies are using their state-of-the-art capabilities -- such as facial recognition and artificial intelligence technology -- to assist with a continuing pattern of improper surveillance, repression and arbitrary detention of Muslims in China.
“The U.S. Government and Department of Commerce cannot and will not tolerate the brutal suppression of ethnic minorities within China,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said. “This action will ensure that our technologies, fostered in an environment of individual liberty and free enterprise, are not used to repress defenseless minority populations.”
The blacklisted companies include Hikvision and Dahua, both of which are global providers of video surveillance technology. Prominent Chinese AI firms such as Sense Time, Megvii and iFlytek are also on the list. Sense Time and Megvii are known for the development of computer vision technology that underpins facial recognition products, while iFlytek is known for its voice recognition and translation services.
In May, the U.S. put major Chinese telecommunications company Huawei on the same blacklist. And in June, five Chinese technology companies were also added to the list.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.