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US adds Chinese supercomputing groups to its Entity List

The United States has added seven Chinese supercomputing enterprises to its trading blacklist over their alleged involvement in developing military systems for People’s Liberation Army (PLA).

The move is the first by the Joe Biden administration to restrict China’s efforts to modernise its military through its military civil fusion (MCF) strategy.

The US Department of Commerce said on 8 April that its Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) has added the Chinese supercomputing organisations to the ‘Entity List’ for conducting activities that are “contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the US”.

The identified entities, it added, are involved with “building supercomputers used by China’s military actors, its destabilising military modernisation efforts, and/or weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programmes”.

Inclusion on the list prohibits the identified entities from the involvement in the export, re-export, or in-country transfers of US dual-use technologies.

The entities include: Tianjin Phytium Information Technology, Shanghai High-Performance Integrated Circuit Design Center, Sunway Microelectronics, the National Supercomputing Center Jinan, the National Supercomputing Center Shenzhen, the National Supercomputing Center Wuxi, and the National Supercomputing Center Zhengzhou.

Commenting on the development, US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo said, “Supercomputing capabilities are vital for the development of many – perhaps almost all – modern weapons and national security systems, such as nuclear weapons and hypersonic weapons.

“The Department of Commerce will use the full extent of its authorities to prevent China from leveraging US technologies to support these destabilising military modernisation efforts.”

None of the companies have responded to the allegations and their inclusion on the US Entity List.

However, Zhao Lijian, spokesperson for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said in an official statement that China rejected US efforts to suppress Chinese high-tech companies through the Entity List.

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