On Thursday, US President Joe Biden expanded the blacklist of Chinese firms that are outlawed to American investors over their links to Beijing’s “military-industrial complex.” Biden’s administration took this step as a sign of Washington’s continued pressure campaign against China.

The former US President Donald Trump had restrained Americans from buying stakes in 31 Chinese companies deemed to be supplying or supporting China’s military and security apparatus. Now, Biden’s move has expanded the blacklist to 59.

According to a White House statement, the current batch of sanctions target companies that were involved in the Chinese surveillance technology used to “facilitate repression or serious human rights abuses,” which “undermine the security or democratic values of the United States and our allies.”

The first list published under Trump included major telecoms, construction, and technology firms such as China Mobile, China Telecom, video surveillance firm Hikvision, and China Railway Construction Corp.

The Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin, in a briefing, said that the ban “severely undermines normal market rules and order” and “damages… the interests of global investors, including US investors”.

While the Biden administration has vowed to take a more diplomatic line with China following the disruption of his predecessor, he said he would be keeping up to a strict line on various issues, including defense and technology.

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