US Adds Chinese Supercomputing Entities to Trade Blacklist Over Chinese Military Ties

The U.S. Commerce Department said April 8 it was adding seven Chinese supercomputing entities to a U.S. economic blacklist for assisting Chinese military efforts.

The department is adding 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 to its blacklist.

The Commerce Department said the seven were “involved with building supercomputers used by China’s military actors, its destabilizing military modernization efforts, and/or weapons of mass destruction programs.”

This is the first time the Biden administration has taken action to penalize Chinese companies on national security grounds.

The Chinese Embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

“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,” Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said in a statement.

Companies or others listed on the U.S. Entity List are required to apply for licenses from the Commerce Department that face tough scrutiny when they seek permission to receive items from U.S. suppliers.

The new rules take effect immediately but do not apply to goods from U.S. suppliers already en route.

During the administration of former U.S. President Donald Trump, the United States added dozens of Chinese companies to its economic blacklist, including the country’s top smartphone maker Huawei Technologies, top chipmaker SMIC and the largest drone manufacturer, SZ DJI Technology Co Ltd.  Those companies were sanctioned for a range of reasons including their role in aiding the Chinese military, and supporting the Chinese regime’s repression against ethnic Musim minorities in the region of Xinjiang.

The Biden administration is still formulating its China policy, and has broadly indicated it would continue the Trump administration’s tough-on-China posture. President Joe Biden has repeatedly said the United States is in “extreme competition” with the Chinese regime.

By David Shepardson. Cathy He contributed to this report.