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US restricts visas to Huawei staff as tensions rise on human rights

Huawei denies it spies for China and, when asked about Pompeo’s remarks, a company spokeswoman said: “We are looking into this and will share the statement once we have one.”

While the US did not provide details of individual employees, the move is nonetheless the latest announcement in what has been an ongoing dispute with the Asian superpower, and another pushback of its global expansionism.

On Monday, Pompeo had rejected Beijing’s claims over the South China Sea, describing them as “completely unlawful” and part of a campaign of bullying in the region.

US secretary of state Mike Pompeo said companies doing business with Huawei were "doing business with human rights abusers".

US secretary of state Mike Pompeo said companies doing business with Huawei were “doing business with human rights abusers”.Credit:AP

Last week, the Trump administration also sanctioned a leading member of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), along with three other officials over the alleged human rights abuses in Xinjiang, where more than one million Muslim Uighurs are being detained in so-called re-education camps.

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In turn, Beijing retaliated by announcing its own sanctions against Republican senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, both high-profile critics of China, along with two other key officials: Sam Brownback, an Ambassador for International Religious Freedom, and Chris Smith, a Republican member of the Congressional Executive Commission on China.

While China denies wrongdoing in Xinjiang, Pompeo said the CCP’s abuses were amongst the worst in the world.

The latest visa restrictions would come under the Immigration and Nationality Act, whereby foreigners are prevented from entering the US if the Secretary of State has reason to believe it “would have potentially serious adverse foreign policy consequences for the United States”.

“Certain Huawei employees provide material support to the CCP regime that commits human rights abuses,” he said.

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