Last week President Joe Biden ordered that U.S. entities be banned from investing in 59 companies with ties to the Chinese military. But 16 Chinese companies that were originally on the list were moved off that list, such as Xiaomi, Basket and Dawning, raising strong questions in U.S. public opinion.
The latest issue of National Review, a conservative U.S. publication, specifically suggested that Biden’s release of Dawning Information Industry Co. or ‘Sugon’ was a strange move. The company is known to have extensive ties to the Chinese military and has been deeply involved in China’s nuclear and hypersonic weapons programs, as well as the development of surveillance equipment for the Uighurs in Xinjiang.
Headquartered in Tianjin and affiliated with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Dawning Information Industry Company is engaged in research, development and services in high-performance computers, cloud computing and artificial intelligence.
The National Review article said that, on the one hand, Dawning was officially targeted during the Trump administration and remains on the Commerce Department’s list of entities, but on the other hand, President Biden has lifted restrictions on the company in a new presidential order.
A spokesperson for the U.S. Department of the Treasury explained in response to a question that corporate designations are prone to legal loopholes and that “[the executive order] proposes new legal standards for entity designations. One of our primary goals is to ensure that any future sanctions have a solid legal basis.”
The spokesman said the first list of entities released by the Biden administration reflects this aspect.
However, National Review said a recent report released by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a Washington think tank, detailed extensive ties between Dawning and Chinese military companies, including a strategic cooperation agreement with a research institute to develop command and control applications for defense construction and national security. In addition, Dawning is involved in a project to develop a joint command system for the People’s Liberation Army.
When the Trump administration first put the company on its list of entities, a Chinese technology expert told The Washington Post that Dawning was involved in the testing of Chinese nuclear weapons simulations and hypersonic glide vehicles, National Review said. Such vehicles are capable of carrying weapons with nuclear warheads at speeds that are impossible for missile defenses to stop.
The Dawson County Journal, a Georgia-based news publication, also published an op-ed Thursday questioning Dawning’s exclusion from the sanctions list.
The article said Michael Sobolik, a China expert at the Foreign Policy Council, found Biden’s order sparing Dawning “very odd” and that the executive order was a new step in the right direction, if nothing else, as it continued the sanctions against Chinese tech giants It continues the sanctions against Chinese tech giants Huawei and Hikvision.
Sobolik also noted that Dawning used its resources to support the Communist Party’s vast surveillance network in Xinjiang, or “predictive surveillance” in Orwellian terms.
Sobolik said some members of Congress have also warned that Dawning has extensive and deep involvement in Chinese military programs, raising questions about why the company is on the sanctions list. He demanded a “perfect explanation” from the administration.
“A report released earlier this month by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies noted that the published list of Chinese entities is only a starting point and that there are “countless” Chinese multinational companies that provide services to the military under the “military-civilian integration” strategy. “strategy to provide international support to the military.”