US blocks Chinese tech firm with top Silicon Valley funding

San Francisco: The US Department of Commerce has blocked 14 Chinese tech companies, including one with funding from top US-based investment firm Sequoia Capital, over links to human rights abuses against Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang, China.

The Commerce Department on Friday added facial recognition company DeepGlint (also known as Beijing Geling Shentong Information Technology Co, Ltd) in its entity list, which restrict US firms from doing business with the listed companies, reports The Verge.

According to South China Morning Post, DeepGlint co-founded a facial recognition lab in 2018 with Chinese authorities in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang.

The company also “gained international bragging rights through the US National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Face Recognition Vendor Test”.

The Commerce Department also sanctioned Xinjiang Lianhai Chuangzhi Company and Chengdu Xiwu Security System Alliance, two subsidiaries of Chinese military contractors.

Another firm sanctioned is Leon Technology, a surveillance company.

The sanctions also included nine other Chinese companies over national security concerns.

According to the report, Sequoia Capital has funded another company called Yitu Technology that later ended up on the Entity List in 2020 for similar human rights abuses.

Sequoia, which did not immediately respond to the report, invested in DeepGlint back in 2014, before China’s genocide of Uyghurs had come to light.