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Iran Press TV

Biden prohibits US investment in 59 Chinese companies allegedly tied to military

Iran Press TV

Friday, 04 June 2021 12:15 AM

US President Joe Biden has expanded restrictions on Americans investing in certain Chinese companies with alleged ties to the country's military.

Biden on Thursday added more businesses to a growing blacklist that has angered China and caused consternation among investors.

The Democratic president issued an executive order, baring US investors from financial interests in 59 Chinese companies, continuing some of the hard-line China policies left by his predecessor Donald Trump.

"This E.O. allows the United States to prohibit – in a targeted and scoped manner – US investments in Chinese companies that undermine the security or democratic values of the United States and our allies," the White House said in a press release.

The measure bars US dollars from supporting the "Chinese defense sector," it noted, saying the move will also expand the American government's ability to address what it called "the threat of Chinese surveillance technology firms that contribute — both inside and outside China — to the surveillance of religious or ethnic minorities or otherwise facilitate repression and serious human rights abuses."

China has repeatedly rejected allegations that it violates the rights of religious or ethnic minorities. Last month, Beijing blasted the US' hypocrisy in advocating the rights of the Muslim minority in the western Chinese Xinjiang region despite its own wars and operations that have killed more Muslims than any other country in the world.

Biden's latest order precludes Americans from investing in the Chinese companies, with a 60-day grace period, until Aug. 2, before sanctions start and a one-year period for Americans already invested in the firms to divest themselves.

"We see this is one action in the sort of broader sweep of steps we are taking to strengthen our approach to competing with China and to countering its actions that are against our interests and our values," claimed one senior administration official in a briefing with reporters.

Meanwhile, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, asked about the prospective change earlier Thursday, said that the Trump administration's order was implemented with a "total disregard of facts" and that it "severely disrupted normal market rules and order."

"The US should respect the rule of law and the market, correct its mistakes, and stop actions that undermine the global financial market order and investors' lawful rights and interests," the spokesman, Wang Wenbin, told reporters in Beijing.

The US and China are increasingly at odds over a range of issues, including alleged human rights abuses in the Xinjiang region, anti-Beijing protests in Hong Kong, China's territorial claims on Chinese Taipei and most of the South China Sea as well as the origin of the coronavirus.

China hoped for an improvement in relations under Biden, who succeeded Trump in January, but the new administration has shown no sign of backing down on hardline policies toward China.

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