The US government expanded its trade blacklist to include some of China’s top artificial intelligence startups, punishing Beijing for its treatment of Muslim minorities and ratcheting up tensions ahead of high-level trade talks in Washington this week.
The decision, almost certain to draw a sharp response from Beijing, targets 20 Chinese public security bureaus and eight companies including video surveillance firm Hikvision, as well as leaders in facial recognition technology SenseTime Group Ltd and Megvii Technology Ltd.
The action bars the firms from buying components from US companies without US government approval – a potentially crippling move. It follows the same blueprint used by Washington in its attempt to limit the influence of Huawei Technologies Co Ltd for what it says are national security reasons.
US officials said the action was not tied to this week’s resumption of trade talks with China, but it signals no let-up in US President Donald Trump’s hard-line stance as the world’s two biggest economies seek to end their 15-month trade war.
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