The US Commerce Department said on Wednesday that new restrictions on 33 Chinese firms and institutions it announced last month will take effect on Friday. The agency has added the companies and institutions to an economic blacklist, accusing them of helping China spy on its minority Muslim Uygur population in Xinjiang or because of alleged ties to weapons of mass destruction and China’s military. The entities include software giant Qihoo 360 Technology, cloud robot and services start-up Cloudminds and lidar company Skyeye Laser Technology. China’s foreign ministry said last month it deplored and firmly opposed US sanctions over Xinjiang, calling it a purely internal affair for China. The move will restrict the sales of US goods to the companies and institutions on the list, as well as certain items made abroad with US content or technology. Companies can apply for licenses to make the sales, but they must overcome a presumption of denial. Seven companies and two institutions were listed for being “complicit in human rights violations and abuses committed in China’s campaign of repression, mass arbitrary detention, forced labour and high-technology surveillance against Uygurs” and others, the Commerce Department said. Two dozen other companies, government institutions and commercial organisations were added over Washington allegations that they supported procurement of items for use by the Chinese military. The blacklisted companies focus on artificial intelligence and facial recognition, markets in which US chip companies such as Nvidia and Intel have been heavily investing. Chinese tech firms denounce latest additions to US trade blacklist The new listings follow a similar October 2019 action, when the Department of Commerce added 28 Chinese public security bureaus and companies – including some of China’s top artificial intelligence start-ups and video surveillance company Hikvision – to a US trade blacklist. The actions follow the same blueprint used by Washington in its attempt to limit the influence of Huawei Technologies for what it says are national security reasons. Last month, the Department of Commerce took action to try to further cut off Huawei’s access to US chip makers.