A view of Hikvision surveillance equipment on the street Photo: VCG
Reports of the US considering blacklisting several Chinese video surveillance technology companies based on sketchy claims were met with both anger and mockery in China on Wednesday, where officials criticized the potential move as abuse of state power, firms dismissed the potential impact, and netizens mocked what they called US hysteria.
By taking aim at anti-terrorism efforts in Northwest China's Xinjiang
Uyghur Autonomous Region in the reported moves, the US also appears keen to raise the stakes in the already escalating trade and technology battle with China by bringing matters of sovereignty and territorial integrity in the trade dispute, an analyst noted.
US officials were considering placing Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Co, Zhejiang Dahua Technology Co and three others on a blacklist that would bar US companies from supplying components to these Chinese firms, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday.
Commenting on the reported move, Lu Kang, a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said that China opposes US abuse of state power in targeting Chinese companies. He stressed that trade and investment between countries must be based on mutual respect and benefit.
The reported move followed a series of actions by Washington, which has slapped tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars worth of Chinese goods, blacklisted Chinese telecom firm Huawei and warned about security risks for Chinese drone maker DJI.
"[The US] tried to hit Huawei. Huawei showed strength. It tried to hit DJI. DJI showed strength. Now the US is in rage and starting to go crazy," a Chinese netizen wrote on Sina Weibo.
"Hysteria and paranoid," another said on the Bloomberg report.
"Such extreme and irrational actions prove that the US has lost its reason and confidence in the policy toward China," Li Haidong, a professor at the China Foreign Affairs University's Institute of International Relations in Beijing, told the Global Times on Wednesday.Internal affairs
Li said the US was also taking a dangerous step in the trade and technology battle by challenging another bottom line of China: sovereignty and territorial integrity.
"We must point out that Xinjiang-related issues are China's internal affairs. It is completely inappropriate for the US side to comment on another big country's internal management model," he said.
The Bloomberg report and another report from the New York Times suggested that the video surveillance companies might have been targeted by the US as companies allegedly helped target Muslim minorities in Xinjiang.
In a statement to the Global Times on Wednesday, Hikvision denied the accusations.
"We have never done any inappropriate actions in Xinjiang," the statement said. "We have never, and would never, conduct business operations that are based on the condition of violating human rights."
China has also repeatedly warned the US against meddling in its internal affairs and called the US criticism of China's anti-terrorism efforts as based on double standards, citing massive surveillance in US cities such as New York.No impact
Reports spooked investors in video surveillances companies, with Hikvision's shares closing 5.54 percent lower on Wednesday and Dahua's stocks down 5.91. But both companies said operations would not be impacted by a US ban.
Yang Zheng, chief brand officer at Uniview, another video surveillance technology company that was reportedly targeted, said the company has been preparing for such a scenario where all US supplies were cut off since April 2018.
There were domestic alternatives for chips, cameras and servers, Yang told the Global Times. "Some of them already began mass production in the first quarter of 2019," Yang said.
Even if the US cut chip supplies, it would not impact the company, said an employee of Hikvision who refused to be named. Most of Hikvision's chip suppliers are in China, according to the 21st Century Business Herald.
Hikvision, Dahua and Uniview are dominant players in the global surveillance market, accounting for 30 percent of total global revenue.Newspaper headline: Chinese mock US hysteria