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U.S. blacklists Chinese drone company, dozens of other Chinese companies

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The United States government has added the massive Chinese drone company SZ DJI Technology Co, the largest in the world, to its economic blacklist alongside a batch of about 80 other Chinese companies, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said Friday morning.

The U.S. Department of Commerce said it was adding DJI, AGCU Scientech, China National Scientific Instruments and Materials, and Kuang-Chi Group because the four companies “enabled wide-scale human rights abuses within China through abusive genetic collection and analysis or high-technology surveillance,” Fox News reports.

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The department also said in some cases the four companies had “facilitated the export of items by China that aid repressive regimes around the world, contrary to U.S. foreign policy interests,” Reuters reports.

Also being added to the list is Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp (SMIC), China’s foremost chipmaker. Explicitly, SMIC will be barred from acquiring technology to manufacture chips with 10-nanometer circuits and smaller, Ross told FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo on Friday morning.

“What this is all about is these are companies that are tied to the People’s Liberation Army,” said Ross.

“This has to do with is their access to very advanced semiconductor products,” he added.

Further explaining the move, Ross said the blacklist was necessary to “ensure that China, through its national champion SMIC, is not able to leverage U.S. technologies to enable indigenous advanced technology levels to support its destabilizing military activities.”

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin denounced the U.S. action during a Friday briefing in Beijing.

“We urge the U.S. to stop its wrongful activities cracking down on foreign companies,” he said.

Back in September, the Commerce Department placed SMIC on a different export restrictions list, saying it had conducted a review and concluded that the firm “may pose an unacceptable risk of diversion to a military end use in the People’s Republic of China,” according to Fox News.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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REPORT: China uses psychiatric institutions to suppress dissent

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China has a vast network of psychiatric institutions that it uses to suppress dissent, according to a recent report by Safeguard Defenders, an NGO that focuses on human rights violations in China and other Asian countries. The report compiled data found on 99 victims involved in 144 instances on involuntary hospitalizations in 109 institutions from 2015 through 2021. Of the 99 victims in the report, 80 were petitioners [i.e., those who file complaints against officials] and 14 were activists.

But this is hardly a new phenomenon. “China’s regime has been torturing, maiming, and killing dissidents and others in psychiatric facilities for seven decades,” said Gordon G. Chang, author of The Coming Collapse of China and The Great U.S.-China Tech War. “The only way to end the horrific abuse is to end the rule of the Communist Party.”

The report detailed especially harsh treatments, which include: forced medication (in 77 percent of cases), physical restraints on the bed (60 percent), beatings by staff or other patients (25 percent) and electroshock therapy (14 percent). Otherwise normally healthy people were given anti-psychotic and psychotropic medications, causing severe side effects like memory loss, insomnia and tremors. Electroshock therapy was often administered to the victims as they were fully conscious, rather than under anesthesia in small doses as would be clinically appropriate for certain patients.  According to the report, “[Electroshock therapy] without anesthesia is not only unimaginably painful and frightening for the patient but carries serious side effects, including the risk of bone fractures, joint dislocation, muscle tears, disruption of the heart beat and lung damage.”

Family and friends are often used as weapons against the victims. They were not permitted to call or visit the victims in 76 percent of cases, which essentially makes these cases “enforced disappearances.” 11 percent of cases were committed with the assistance of family (either voluntarily or coerced by authorities). Family and friends who petition for the victim’s release are often faced with persecution, and involuntarily commitment themselves.

The peak of psychiatric detentions occurred from 2015 through 2016, which was around the same time as China’s “709 Crackdown” where the government persecuted hundreds of human rights lawyers.

Some of the detentions are rather draconian. As a petitioner who called for local authorities to investigate a robbery in his house, Zeng Jiping was detained for almost two years. For “live tweeting herself splashing paint over a portrait of Xi Jinping,” Dong Yaoqiong received 1 year, 4 months detention. Twenty-nine out of the 99 victims in the report were hospitalized more than once. In two-thirds of cases where data was known, the authorities did not perform a psychiatric evaluation, in direct violation of China’s Mental Health Law.

The report also gives the example of Andy Li, a member of the “Hong Kong 12” pro-democracy protestors, as falling victim to involuntary detention in Hong Kong’ Siu Lam Psychiatric Center in 2021. The report noted that, as Li’s family didn’t know about his detention, “Li’s cases appears to be a worrying sign that the political abuse of psychiatry practiced on the mainland is now being exported into Hong Kong…”

Those who are finally released from their involuntary committals face lasting physical and phycological pain, and stigma within their communities. People seeking damages for their treatment are often faced with doctors and attorneys who do not want to assist them for fear of retaliation from the government.

Conclusion

According to the report, China is using “peace and health asylums” and other healthcare institutions to “punish and remove activists and petitioners from society without the trouble of going through a trial.” While the report details various Chinese laws that are supposed to protect citizens from such involuntary hospitalizations, in reality Chinese authorities do not abide by these laws and the citizens are not protected. The policy of involuntary hospitalizations show the extent to which the Chinese Communist Party will go to suppress dissent.

You can follow Steve Postal on Twitter @HebraicMosaic

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