US President Donald Trump
US President Donald Trump

Washington: The US has added 28 Chinese entities to an export blacklist, citing their role in Beijing's repression of Muslim minorities in Xinjiang, just days before high-level trade talks were slated to resume in Washington.

Targets of the action by the Commerce Department on Monday include video-surveillance and facial-recognition giants Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology, Megvii Technology Inc. and SenseTime Group Ltd, Efe news reported.

The Department's decision to put the firms to its "entity list" alongside telecommunications giant Huawei TechnologiesCo., which was added in May, means suppliers will be barred from providing technology that originates in the US to the Chinese firms without a license.

The newly identified entities "have been implicated in human rights violations and abuses in the implementation of China's campaign of repression, mass arbitrary detention, and high-technology surveillance against Uighurs, Kazakhs, and other members of Muslim minority groups" in Xinjiang region, the Department said in a statement.

A spokesman said the move was unrelated to the trade negotiations. Western scholars estimate more than one million Turkic Uighurs and other Muslim minorities have been arbitrarily detained in China's Xinjiang region in the past few years.

The US will also add the Xinjiang Public Security Bureau and 19 subordinate entities to the entity list, along with Chinese firms Dahua Technology Co., IFLYTEK, Xiamen Meiya Pico Information Co., Yitu Technologies and Yixin Science & Technology Co., the Department statement added. The new policy will take effect later this week.

Deputy-level US and Chinese officials began in Washington on Monday, followed by talks between Trump's top negotiators, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and China's top trade envoy, Liu He, beginning Thursday.

Meanwhile, Beijing Tuesday slammed a US blacklist of 28 Chinese entities allegedly implicated in rights violations of Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang region, saying the claims are "groundless".

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