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Biden bars US investment in Chinese companies linked to surveillance

Biden bars US investment in Chinese companies linked to surveillance
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President BidenJoe BidenMilitary must better understand sexual assaults to combat them The Hill's Equilibrium — Presented by NextEra Energy — Tasmanian devil wipes out penguin population On The Money: Democrats make full-court press on expanded child tax credit | White House confident Congress will raise debt ceiling MORE signed an executive order Thursday to prohibit investments in Chinese defense and surveillance firms that produce or use technology to facilitate human rights abuses, expanding a Trump-era order issued last year.

The new order is designed to bar U.S. investments in Chinese companies that produce or deploy surveillance technology used to repress individuals such as Muslim majority Uyghurs in Xinjiang and activists in Hong Kong or others throughout the world.

The order lists 59 Chinese firms that are subject to the prohibitions, but the White House said that it would update the list “as appropriate,” meaning more companies could be added to it. The order takes effect on Aug. 2, approximately two months from the date that Biden signed it.

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“This E.O. allows the United States to prohibit – in a targeted and scoped manner – U.S. investments in Chinese companies that undermine the security or democratic values of the United States and our allies,” said a White House fact sheet accompanying the order.

The order amends and expands an executive order signed by then-President TrumpDonald TrumpWhat blue wave? A close look at Texas today tells of a different story Democrats go down to the wire with Manchin Trump's former bodyguard investigated in NY prosectors' probe: report MORE in November that paved the way for the U.S. to blacklist Chinese companies that have connections to Beijing’s military. It comes as China increasingly uses cameras and surveillance technology to carry out massive surveillance of its population.

Biden’s order keeps prohibitions on most of the companies included in Trump’s original order, such as telecommunications company Huawei and video surveillance manufacturer Hikvision, and expands it to include other Chinese firms.

The new order comes at a time of heightened tensions between the U.S. and Beijing.

The Biden administration has been vocal about concerns about the repression of Uyghurs and people in Hong Kong, and Biden has made clear that fighting against human rights abuses in China and elsewhere is a priority for his administration.

U.S. officials have also raised concerns with China’s trade practices and actions in cyberspace. Secretary of State Antony BlinkenAntony BlinkenEnvoy says US in talks to remove foreign forces in Libya ahead of elections State Department to fly 'Progress' flag in honor of Pride month US joins Canada, United Kingdom, EU, with joint sanctions on Belarus MORE and national security adviser Jake SullivanJake SullivanThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden support, gas tax questions remain on infrastructure Sullivan says US preparing more Russia sanctions over Navalny Sullivan: Comments by North Korea's Kim an 'interesting signal' MORE met with Chinese counterparts for a tense in-person meeting in Alaska in March after Biden took office.

The White House has signaled its goal is to compete with China but not be overly confrontational. Biden has tried to sell his infrastructure proposal as a necessary investment to win competition with China in the 21st century, referencing Beijing’s own investments in infrastructure projects.