The U.S. government on Thursday added 12 Chinese companies to its list of those ineligible for its export-control programs.
The announcement signaled that the Obama administration intends to stick with an aggressive stance against Chinese technology companies caught in a global spying effort by Chinese military personnel.
The move also follows revelations by security researchers that some of the companies are implicated in extracting valuable information from the server of the big U.S. computer security firm, McAfee, and then illegally exporting it to China.
The 12 companies are CSR Group, Dongfeng Motor Corporation, Dongfeng Electric Technology, Dongfeng Lithium Battery, Dynagaz, Dalian International Battery Company, GEMtech, Hanyang Communication Equipment, Tongtech Automotive Battery, Tongjitang Chinese Machinery and Zhengzhou Zhenhua Electronic Engineering Corporation.
In 2015, the Obama administration began blacklisting specific Chinese firms that pose a national security threat to the United States, after imposing the same designation on Chinese firms like Huawei and ZTE.
A White House statement about the new decision said, “The president and his team will continue to prioritize our relationship with the Chinese government on issues related to cyberspace, but we will not tolerate actions by Chinese actors that threaten our national security.”
Other firms have been prohibited from exporting to the United States, but the new dozen companies were added only under the previously untested proposal of “pre-clearance,” a request for specific documents — such as company reports or arrest records — to be provided before a given trade is approved. The idea was to address the security concerns of companies exposed to Russian hackers, by persuading the Chinese government that companies could be liable for illegal or unlawful activities.