The U.S. government will impose visa restrictions on certain employees of Chinese technology companies, including Huawei, alleging they’ve supported regimes engaging in human rights violations and abuses globally, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a press briefing.
- Describing Huawei as “an arm of the Chinese Communist Party’s surveillance state,” Pompeo charged that it has enabled censorship of political dissidents and the establishment of mass internment camps in Xinjiang.
- Pompeo accused certain employees of the telecom company of providing “material support” to the Chinese regime without offering any specific details.
- Amid trade tensions with China, the Trump administration has targeted Huawei and other Chinese firms with sanctions and bans.
- The White House has also tried to dissuade European governments from using equipment made by companies like Huawei in their 5G mobile networks over concerns that it could be used by the Chinese government for espionage.
- On Tuesday, the U.K. government banned Huawei from its 5G networks — barring telecom companies from purchasing equipment made by the company.
- Apart from hardware makers, the government has hinted of plans to ban Chinese social media platforms like TikTok and WeChat for allegedly siphoning user data and sharing it with the Chinese government.
“Telecommunications companies around the world should consider themselves on notice: If they are doing business with Huawei, they are doing business with human rights abusers,” Pompeo said.
Last week it was reported that the Trump administration is preparing to finalize regulations that would prevent the U.S. government from buying goods or services from any company that uses products from five Chinese companies, including Huawei. Prior to that, in June, the Federal Communications Commission moved to officially designate Huawei and ZTE as threats to U.S. communications networks. The order prevents U.S. telecom companies from tapping into the FCC’s $8.3 billion subsidy fund to purchase any equipment made by the two companies. In February, the U.S. Senate had voted unanimously to pass a bill that banned the purchase of equipment from the Chinese firms, which included a $1 billion provision to help rural telecom providers “rip and replace” existing equipment from Huawei and ZTE. This bill was signed and enacted by the President in March.