The Pentagon lists 20 companies that help the Chinese military

The Pentagon has compiled a list of Chinese companies with ties to the Chinese military, including two groups listed on the New York Stock Exchange, as part of an intensive effort by the administration and Congress to make it harder for China to secure U.S. investment and sensitive technologies. .

The list, which was obtained by the Financial Times, includes a number of state entities involved in fields ranging from nuclear power to aviation. But it also includes China Telecommunications and China Mobile, two commercial telecommunications companies in China that are listed in New York.

Congress required the Pentagon to produce the list in 1999, but security officials never did.

Last year, the FT reported that the effort gained momentum as lawmakers responded to mounting tension with China by telling the defense department to publicly name companies it believes help the Chinese military.

A 1999 defense law, which specifies Chinese companies that operate “directly or indirectly” in the United States, authorizes the president to impose sanctions on any of them.

Congress is not required to act on the list based on the 1999 law. But China’s hawks say it will increase pressure on US investors to get rid of companies that Washington says threaten national security. The compilation of the list comes just weeks after President Donald Trump told the US government’s main pension fund. USA

The 20 companies on the Pentagon’s list include Huawei, the Chinese manufacturer of telecommunications equipment that Washington believes helps Beijing carry out cyber espionage.

It also names Hikvision, a company that supplies surveillance technology to detention camps in Xinjiang province, where the Chinese government has interned more than 1 million ethnic Muslim Uighurs for re-education.

Mike Pompeo, the US secretary of state, said this month that Chinese President Xi Jinping had “given the green light to a brutal crackdown against Chinese Muslims, a violation of human rights on a scale we have not seen since the Second World War”. But John Bolton, the former United States national security adviser, claimed in a new book that Trump had told Xi that he was not opposed to internments.

“In addition to other official lists, we now have an opportunity to examine the footprints of the US capital markets from a list of Chinese from the Pentagon [People’s Liberation Army]affiliated companies, “said Roger Robinson, a former National Security Council official who advocates a much tougher stance on China and its companies.

“The complete disconnect between the US security community and Wall Street fund managers and index providers is likely to be unsustainable, especially for the people of Wall Street,” said Robinson, president of the RWR Advisory Group, a consultancy. based in Washington.

A defense official said issuing the list was “an important step to highlight and counter China’s civil-military merger strategy, which supports the PLA’s modernization goals by ensuring its access to advanced technologies acquired and developed by companies, universities and Chinese research programs. “

The official said the list would be “a useful tool” for the US government. USA, Companies, investors, academic institutions and like-minded partners perform due diligence regarding partnerships with these entities, particularly as the list grows.

The Pentagon will update the list with additional entities as appropriate, the official said.

Eric Sayers, an Asian security expert and associate member of the Center for a New American Security, said the list would increase pressure to respond to China’s “military-civil fusion strategy,” which requires Chinese companies developing certain technologies share them. with the Chinese military

The action of the Pentagon takes place as the relations between the EE. USA And China continues to spiral into a range of global economic, security and health problems.

In recent months, Trump criticized China for Covid-19 and blamed the Chinese government for its global spread. The president last month also threatened to “cut the entire relationship” with China, although he did not explain what it would entail.

Follow Demetri Sevastopulo on Twitter: @dimi