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US to hit Huawei employees with visa bans

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said staff providing ‘material support to regimes engaging in human rights violations’ will be hit with sanctions.

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (Tom Brenner/Pool/AP)

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (Tom Brenner/Pool/AP)

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (Tom Brenner/Pool/AP)

The Trump administration has said it will impose travel bans on employees of Huawei and other Chinese companies the US determines are assisting authoritarian governments in cracking down on human rights.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made the announcement a day after the UK said it would ban Huawei from its 5G networks over concerns that sensitive data could be compromised by the China and the Chinese Communist Party.

Mr Pompeo said Huawei employees found to be providing “material support to regimes engaging in human rights violations and abuses globally” would be hit with sanctions.

Telecommunications companies around the world should consider themselves on noticeMike Pompeo

“Companies impacted by today’s action include Huawei, an arm of the CCP’s surveillance state that censors political dissidents and enables mass internment camps in Xinjiang and the indentured servitude of its population shipped all over China,” he said.

“Certain Huawei employees provide material support to the CCP regime that commits human rights abuses.

“Telecommunications companies around the world should consider themselves on notice – if they are doing business with Huawei, they are doing business with human rights abusers.”

At a later event sponsored by The Hill newspaper, Mr Pompeo said the administration is also looking at how to prevent data theft from TikTok and other Chinese companies.

“Whether it’s TikTok or any of the other Chinese apps, this administration takes seriously its obligation to protect Americans’ information,” he said.

“We are working through a process though all the relevant agencies (and) we hope to have a set of decisions shortly.”

It is not clear how many Huawei employees would be affected.

The US has led a worldwide campaign to convince foreign governments, particularly those in allied nations, to bar Huawei from their advanced telecommunications networks, arguing allowing them into those systems would lead to privacy violations of their citizens.

The US has also threatened Nato and other allies with curtailments or suspensions in intelligence-sharing and co-operation should they allow Huawei components or technology in their high-speed networks.

PA