In an announcement of a final rule to be published in the federal register on December 17, the Bureau of Industry and Security at the U.S. Commerce Department said it would add a number of Chinese companies to its "Entity List," which means that sales to these companies will now be subject to specific license requirements.
The announcement emphasizes "the ongoing threats to U.S. national security and foreign policy presented by the People’s Republic of China (PRC)’s efforts to develop and deploy biotechnology and other technologies for military applications and human rights abuses." It includes the following quote from Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo that: “The scientific pursuit of biotechnology and medical innovation can save lives. Unfortunately, the PRC is choosing to use these technologies to pursue control over its people and its repression of members of ethnic and religious minority groups. We cannot allow U.S. commodities, technologies, and software that support medical science and biotechnical innovation to be diverted toward uses contrary to U.S. national security. The U.S. will continue to stand strong against efforts by the PRC and Iran to turn tools that can help humanity prosper into implements that threaten global security and stability.”
According to the Financial Times, a senior administration official said the Chinese Academy of Military Medical Sciences and eleven of its research institutes "were using biotech to help the Chinese military develop applications that include 'brain control weaponry'," and that "China was also using emerging biotechnologies to try to develop future military applications that included 'gene editing, human performance enhancement [and] brain machine interfaces'."
As explained in the final rule, "[t]he Entity List ... identifies entities for which there is reasonable cause to believe, based on specific and articulable facts, that the entities have been involved, are involved, or pose a significant risk of being or becoming involved in activities contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States." Decisions on additions are made by the End-User Review Committee (ERC), which is composed of representatives of the Departments of Commerce (Chair), State, Defense, Energy and, where appropriate, Treasury.
Here, the ERC decided to add thirty-seven entities under forty entries to the Entity List. Of the forty entries, thirty-four are located in China. Specifically, the following entities were added:
- "The ERC determined to add the Academy of Military Medical Sciences (AMMS) in China and eleven of its research institutes ... to the Entity List under the destination of China based on the body of information that AMMS and its eleven research institutes use biotechnology processes to support Chinese military end uses and end users, to include purported brain-control weaponry. This activity is contrary to U.S. national security and foreign policy interests under § 744.11(b) of the EAR."
- "The ERC determined to add China Electronics Technology Group Corporation 52nd Research Institute, Shaanxi Reactor Microelectronics Co. Ltd., Shanghai AisinoChip Electronics Co., Ltd., and Hangzhou Hikmicro Sensing Technology Co., Ltd. to the Entity List for their support of China’s military modernization. This activity is contrary to national security and foreign policy interests under Section 744.11(b) of the EAR."
- "[T]he ERC determined to add HMN International, Jiangsu Hengtong Marine Cable Systems, Jiangsu Hengtong OpticElectric, Shanghai Aoshi Control Technology Co., Ltd., and Zhongtian Technology Submarine Cable to the Entity List for acquiring and attempting to acquire U.S.-origin items in support of military modernization for the People’s Liberation Army. This activity is contrary to national security and foreign policy interests under Section 744.11(b) of the EAR."
- "Wavelet Electronics, Comtel Technology Limited, and HSJ Electronics are being added to the Entity List under the destination of China for actions contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States. Specifically, these companies have supplied or attempted to supply U.S.-origin items that could provide material support to Iran’s advanced conventional weapons and missile programs to entities designated by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control as Specially Designated Nationals (SDN)."
- "The ERC determined to add Aerosun Corporation, Changsha Jingjia Microelectronics Co., Ltd., Fujian Torch Electron Technology Co., Ltd., and Inner Mongolia First Machinery Group Co., Ltd. to the Entity List for their support of China’s military modernization. This activity is contrary to national security and foreign policy interests under Section 744.11(b) of the EAR."
- "The ERC determined to add the following entities to the Entity List for their involvement in activities that are contrary to the national security and/or foreign policy interests of the United States: Hong Kong Cheung Wah Electronics Technology Company Limited, Hyper Systems Union Limited, Shenzhen Rion Technology, and Thundsea Electric Limited, under the destination of China; Gensis Engineering under the destinations of Georgia and Turkey; Integrated Scientific Microwave Technology under the destinations of China and Malaysia; ROV Solutions under the destinations of China and Georgia; SAEROS Safety ERO Company under the destination of Georgia; and Vangurd Tec Makina Sanyi Ithalat under the destination of Turkey. Specifically, these entities are a part of a network used to supply or attempt to supply Iran with U.S-origin items that would ultimately provide material support to Iran’s defense industries, in violation of U.S. export controls."