Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday announced sanctions against certain employees of Chinese technology companies — such as Huawei — that support regimes engaging in human rights violations, such as the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
“The State Department will impose visa restrictions on certain employees of Chinese technology companies like Huawei that provide material support to regimes engaging in human rights violations and abuses globally,” he said during a press briefing at the State Department.
“We have to deal with China as it is, not as how we wish it to be. Other nations are arriving at the same conclusion,” he added.
The sanctions would ban certain persons from traveling to the U.S. under Section 212(a)(3)(C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which blocks entry of a foreign citizen if the secretary of state has reason to believe his or her entry “would have potentially serious adverse foreign policy consequences for the United States.”
Pompeo said in a statement released after the press briefing:
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. 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.
Pompeo’s announcement follows the United Kingdom’s decision on Monday to ban Huawei equipment from its 5G networks and phase out all current Huawei equipment by the end of 2027.
He called the U.K.’s decision “commendable” during Wednesday’s briefing.
“The U.K. joins the United States and now many other democracies in becoming clean countries — nations free of untrusted 5G vendors. In the same way, many major telecommunication companies like Telefónica, Alco Italy, and NTT have become clean carriers,” he said.
The U.K.’s decision marks a major victory for the Trump administration’s campaign to persuade U.S. allies not to allow Huawei and other Chinese telecommunication companies to build their 5G networks.
While Huawei promised nations cheap rates, it came with the risk that the CCP could infiltrate the 5G systems and sweep up sensitive data, threatening private businesses and national security secrets.
Pompeo at the briefing also noted his statement on Monday outlining U.S. policy on the South China Sea, where China has become increasingly aggressive in its territorial claims.
“On Monday for the first time we made our policy on the South China Sea crystal clear. It’s not China’s maritime empire. If Beijing violates international law and free nations do nothing, then history shows the CCP will simply take more territory,” he said.
“It happened in the last administration. Our statement gives significant support to ASEAN leaders who have declared that South China Sea disputes must be resolved through international law, not through might makes right,” he said.
“What the CCP does to the Chinese people is bad enough, but the free world shouldn’t tolerate Beijing’s abuses as well,” he added.