Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) are questioning U.S. chipmakers Intel and Nvidia, about their semiconductor chips allegedly being used in Chinese computing systems to conduct mass surveillance in far-western China’s Xinjiang region.
Citing Sugon’s official website, the Times article pointed out that authorities use the UCCC to conduct “predictive policing.” The two lawmakers argued this meant that the center was “preventatively identifying behaviors considered dangerous or disloyal to the Chinese Communist Party.”
American companies are banned from doing business with blacklisted companies, unless they obtain a special government license.
In the two letters, the lawmakers asked whether Intel or Nvidia was aware that its products were being sold to companies on the entity list, though they did not name those firms. They also asked if the two chipmakers perform any procedures to ensure their products are not used for human rights abuses, before selling them to Chinese entities.
“To what extent was your company aware that your products would be used to support the operations and activities of the Ministry of Public Security, the Ministry of State Security, and the People’s Armed Police?” the lawmakers asked.
Nvidia told the New York Times that Sugon hasn’t been a significant Nvidia customer” since last year’s ban.
Intel spokesman William Moss said in a statement that “the company does not tolerate its products being used to violate human rights and when the company becomes aware of such a concern it ceases or restricts business with third parties until it has confidence its products are not used to commit such violations.” The firm told New York Times that it no longer sells semiconductors for supercomputers to Sugon.
Rubio and McGovern are the co-chairs of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC), which monitors human rights in China.