The U.S. Department of Commerce has sanctions 14 Chinese technology companies involved in human rights abuses against Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang, including one backed by Silicon Valley’s top investment company.
DeepGlint, also known as Beijing Geling Shentong Information Technology Co., Ltd., is a facial recognition company with deep ties to Chinese police surveillance and funding from U.S. Sequoia Capital. Today, the Department of Commerce added it to its own list Entity list, which restricts U.S. companies from doing business with listed companies without a special license. Sequoia did not respond immediately to the request for comment.
DeepGlint established a facial recognition laboratory in 2018 with the Chinese authorities in Urumq, the capital of Xinjiang. South China Morning Post. It has also received international bragging rights U.S. National Institute of Standardization and Technology (NIST) facial recognition supplier test. DeepGlint claimed in the peak accuracy test from January 2021, giving it a a powerful marketing tool in the security and surveillance industry.
Although DeepGlint has been accepted for a public takeover bid on the Shanghai STAR Stock Exchange, the company has not seen the commercial success of other AI start-ups in the country, explained Jeffrey Ding ChinAI Newsletter last month. Because the company has invested so heavily in public works, it has to follow slow public procurement cycles and is unlikely to achieve huge infrastructure projects, Ding writes.
Sequoia Capital has funded another company that later ended up on the entity list. In 2020, Sequoia-sponsored Yitu Technology was was added to the list similar human rights violations. Sequoia already invested in DeepGlint in 2014, ahead of China genocide of the Uighurs had come to light. (In the same year, Bill Gates also referred to the launch as “very neat” KrAsia.)
The Ministry of Commerce also forced the Xinjiang Lianhai Chuangzhi Company and Chengdu Xiwu Security System Alliance, two subsidiaries of Chinese military suppliers. Both provide monitoring equipment and services according to their websites and academic reports. The Xinjiang Lianhai Chuangzhi Company created an artificial intelligence inspection system capable of tracking Uighurs as they move through cities. report Italian Institute of International Political Studies.
Another forced company today is Leon Technology, a surveillance company ruled by Chinese artificial intelligence giant SenseTime until its mission providing oppressive technology in Xinjiang reported in 2019. SenseTime then sold its 51 percent stake.
Ministry of Commerce sanctions also included nine other Chinese companies for national security reasons, as well as companies from Iran, Russia, and Canada.