Yesterday, on Oct. 7, the Bureau of Industry and Security of the Department of Commerce announced that it will add 28 Chinese governmental and commercial organizations — including Hikvision and Dahua, two of the largest video surveillance manufacturers in the world — to the Entity List for engaging in or enabling activities contrary to the foreign policy interests of the United States. 

This is in retaliation to China's forcing Muslim minorities into internment camps, and comes before high-level trade talks between the U.S. and China scheduled for this week. 

Being placed on this backlist bans Hikvision and Dahua, along with several other artificial intelligence and facial recognition companies, from buying components from U.S. companies without U.S. government approval. 

“The U.S. government and Department of Commerce cannot and will not tolerate the brutal suppression of ethnic minorities within China,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross in a statement. “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.”

Dahua Technology released a statement today, on Oct. 8, protesting the U.S. government’s decision and calling for a reconsideration. 

“As a global business entity, Dahua adheres to the business code of conduct, and follows market rules as well as international rules,” the statement read. “Dahua is actively working to ensure our investment and banking operations around the world comply with all applicable laws and regulations. Regarding such decision of the U.S. government, we have actively taken various measures, and we will continue providing outstanding products and services to our customers.”

In an emailed statement to SDM, a Hikvision spokesperson said the company has been working with U.S officials over the past year to “clarify misunderstandings about the company and address their concerns.”

“Hikvision strongly opposes the decision by the U.S. government and it will hamper efforts by global companies to improve human rights around the world,” the statement read. “Hikvision, as the security industry’s global leader, respects human rights and takes our responsibility to protect people in the U.S. and the world seriously.”

The spokesperson also pointed out that the company retained human rights expert and former U.S. ambassador Pierre-Richard Prosper to advise the company on human rights compliance. 

“Punishing Hikvision, despite these engagements, will deter global companies from communicating with the U.S. government, hurt Hikvision’s U.S. business partners and negatively impact the U.S. economy,” the Oct. 8 statement continued.