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Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The Treasury Department has added eight Chinese companies — including DJI, the world's largest commercial drone manufacturer — to an investment blacklist for actively supporting the "surveillance and tracking" of Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in China.

Why it matters: The U.S. is cracking down aggressively on virtually any company — American or Chinese — believed to be complicit in the Chinese government's genocide of Uyghur Muslims in the northwest region of Xinjiang. DJI is accused of providing surveillance drones to authorities that operate mass detention camps in Xinjiang.

Details ... The following companies were added on Thursday to the Treasury Department's "Chinese Military-Industrial Complex" list:

  • Cloudwalk Technology Co., Ltd.
  • Dawning Information Industry Co., Ltd.
  • Leon Technology Company Limited
  • Megvii Technology Limited
  • Netposa Technologies Limited
  • SZ DJI Technology Co., Ltd.
  • Xiamen Meiya Pico Information Co., Ltd.
  • Yitu Limited

The intrigue: As Axios reported in September, federal law enforcement agencies including the FBI and Secret Service purchased surveillance drones from DJI as recently as this year — despite the Pentagon warning that the company's products "pose potential threats to national security."

Driving the news: Earlier on Thursday, the Commerce Department added dozens of Chinese research institutes and tech companies to its own "entity list," which bars U.S. companies from selling them technology without a license.

  • The eight companies named to the Treasury's investment blacklist had already previously been designated to the entity list.
  • Congress on Thursday also passed the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, which bans all imports from Xinjiang unless companies can prove with "clear and convincing evidence" that the products are not made with forced labor.

Go deeper ... Scoop: U.S. government bought risky Chinese drones

Go deeper

Dec 6, 2021 - World

U.S. announces diplomatic boycott of Beijing Winter Olympics

An Olympic-themed sculpture in Beijing on Dec. 1. Photo: Hou Yu/China News Service via Getty Images

The U.S. announced Monday that it will not send officials to the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics in protest of human rights abuses committed by the Chinese Communist Party.

Why it matters: The diplomatic boycott — which won't prevent American athletes from competing — marks a major escalation between the U.S. and China amid already heightened tensions over the CCP's treatment of Muslim minorities, military threats to Taiwan and economic tariffs.

Updated 1 hour ago - World

Pentagon: 8,500 troops on high alert for possible deployment to eastern Europe

Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has placed 8,500 U.S. troops on "heightened preparedness to deploy" to eastern Europe in case NATO activates its rapid-response force over tensions with Russia, the Pentagon announced Monday.

Why it matters: No decisions have been made to actually deploy U.S. forces, but the heightened alert level will allow the military to rapidly shore up NATO's eastern flank in the event that Russia invades Ukraine. The Pentagon warned that Russia has shown "no signs of de-escalating," and continues to amass troops on Ukraine's borders.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden calls Fox News reporter a "stupid son of a b---h" on hot mic

President Biden blasted Fox News' Peter Doocy on Monday after the reporter asked if the nation's soaring inflation is a political liability, saying, "what a stupid son of a b----h."

The latest: The president called Doocy Monday evening, the reporter told Fox's Sean Hannity. "He cleared the air and I appreciated it. We had a nice call," Doocy said when asked whether the president apologized, adding: "I don't need anyone to apologize to me."