Drone maker DJI and seven other Chinese companies blacklisted in the United States

The United States has added drone maker DJI and seven other Chinese companies to an investment blacklist, raising even more pressure on businesses in the world’s second largest economy.

The US Treasury Department announced on Thursday that it has placed investment restrictions on the firms due to their roles in facilitating human rights abuses against China’s Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang and other ethnic and religious minorities.

As a result, American investors will be barred from buying or selling shares of the companies.

“Today’s action highlights how private firms in China’s defense and surveillance technology sectors are actively cooperating with the government’s efforts to repress members of ethnic and religious minority groups,” said Brian Nelson, undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence.

“Treasury remains committed to ensuring that the U.S. financial system and American investors are not supporting these activities.”

DJI and the seven other companies are already on the US entity list, which means they are barred from buying US products or importing American technology without a special license.

Dozens of Chinese companies and organizations were added to that export blacklist by the US Commerce Department on Thursday, in a bid to limit China’s use of US technologies for military purposes and for alleged human rights violations.

Thursday’s twin announcements came a week after Treasury slapped similar economic sanctions against two Chinese politicians and a Chinese artificial intelligence firm, SenseTime.

Washington has been piling pressure on Chinese companies recently.

Earlier this week US officials were deliberating whether to stiffen rules about selling to one of China’s top chipmakers. The company, Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp (SMIC), has been on the US entity list since last year.

China’s Foreign Ministry criticized the United States after reports of Washington’s planned crackdown.

At a briefing, spokesperson Zhao Lijian called on the Biden administration to stop “politicizing” technological and economic issues by “generalizing the concept of national security.”

“Stop abusing state power to unreasonably oppress specific sectors and enterprises of China,” Zhao said, warning that sanctions on companies such as DJI would threaten global industrial and supply chains, and undermine international trade rules.

“China will, as always, firmly defend the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies,” he added.