Hikvision Among Companies Declared by DOD to Be Backed by Chinese Military

The Department of Defense has released a document listing 20 companies operating in the United States that Washington alleges are backed by the Chinese military.

WASHINGTON — After being blacklisted by the Trump Administration last year, Hikvision now finds itself on a list of companies owned or controlled by the Chinese military.

Reuters is reporting a Department of Defense (DOD) document listing 20 companies, including Hikvision and Huawei, operating in the United States that Washington alleges are backed by the Chinese military.

Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton and Wisconsin Congressman Mike Gallagher, who wrote a letter to Defense Secretary Mark Esper in September raising concerns about the Chinese Communist Party’s espionage, praised the list.

“We commend the Department of Defense for releasing this list of Chinese military companies operating in the United States and hope more will soon follow. This report is one piece of a broader campaign our nation must wage against the Chinese Communist Party and its parasitic technology transfer efforts,” they said in a statement. “We urge the President to impose economic penalties against these Chinese military firms. Meanwhile, Congress should update this 1999 law to better address the present-day challenges posed by China’s Military-Civil Fusion strategy.”

Hikvision calls the list “baseless” and denies being a “Chinese military company.” A Hikvision spokesperson tells SSI:

“Hikvision strongly opposes the decision by the U.S. government to misapply a never-used provision of a 21-year-old law. This latest inclusion is baseless. As a publicly traded company and independently operated enterprise, details about our ownership have always been publicly available, while the company’s operation and business information is also publicly accessible. Not only is Hikvision not a “Chinese military company,” Hikvision has never participated in any R&D work for military applications. Hikvision has always tried to fully and transparently cooperate with the U.S. government to answer questions and correct misunderstandings about the company. Hikvision will continue to try to work with the U.S. government to resolve all of these matters.”

The White House has not said whether it would sanction the companies on the list, but a senior administration official told Reuters the list can be seen as “a useful tool for the U.S. Government, companies, investors, academic institutions, and likeminded partners to conduct due diligence with regard to partnerships with these entities, particularly as the list grows.”

In August of 2019, the implementation of the interim Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) rule prohibited federal agencies from purchasing or obtaining telecommunications and video surveillance equipment from five Chinese companies — including Hikvision.

A few months later in October, the Commerce Department added 28 state security bureaus and tech companies in China, including Hikvision, to a United States blacklist over concerns about their role in human rights violations, effectively blocking those entities from doing business with U.S. firms.

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About the Author


Steven A. Karantzoulidis is the Web Editor for Security Sales & Integration. He graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a degree in Communication and has a background in Film, A/V and Social Media.

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