Hunter Biden held a stake in a Chinese investment firm that itself invested in a company that has assisted Beijing in surveilling ethnic minorities, particularly Uyghurs, the Treasury Department revealed Thursday.
The president’s son invested in Bohai Harvest (BHR) beginning in 2013 and by 2019 held a 10 percent stake in the firm through Skaneateles LLC, an American company based in Washington, D.C., the New York Times reported in November.
Two BHR subsidiaries invested $1.2 million each in Chinese surveillance company Megvii, according to a 2017 prospectus for Megvii reviewed by the Washington Examiner. Megvii, which develops facial-recognition technology, was sanctioned added to the Commerce Department’s “Entities List” in 2019 over its alleged involvement in human rights abuses in Xinjiang.
Megvii was included on a list of entities implicated in the “The Chinese Military-Industrial Complex” released on Thursday by the Treasury Department.
A company Megvii controls “created customized software designed to conduct surveillance activities of ethnic minorities, including Uyghurs,” the Treasury Department said in a statement.
“Kuangshi has developed and created customized software designed to conduct surveillance activities of ethnic minorities, including Uyghurs,” the Department added. “One such AI software could recognize persons as being part of the Uyghur ethnic minority and send automated alarms to government authorities.”
Megvii said its inclusion on the Treasury Department’s list was “groundless,” and that it would not affect the company’s operations, according to Reuters.
Hunter Biden’s lawyer Chris Clark said he “no longer holds any interest, directly or indirectly, in either BHR or Skaneateles,” in comments to the Times.
China’s government has engaged in extensive surveillance of Uighur Muslims and other ethnic and religious minorities in Xinjiang, and has reportedly detained hundreds of thousands of Muslims in so-called “reeducation” camps. The Senate passed a bill on Thursday, the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, designed to limit imports from Xinjiang over concerns of forced labor used in manufacturing in the province.