Report: Microsoft Skirting U.S. Sanctions to Do Business w/ CCP Firms

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(Ken Silva, Headline USA) The American Conservative revealed Monday that Microsoft owns 22% of a Chinese firm doing business with companies sanctioned by the U.S. government.

According to TAC, As of late 2023 Microsoft owned 22 percent of Shanghai Wicresoft Co. Ltd., which began in 2022 as a joint venture between the U.S. tech giant and  the venture capital arm of the Shanghai Municipal Government.

“Since then, Wicresoft’s clientele has grown. At least three of these clients, however, are sanctioned by the United States due to national security concerns and the companies’ alleged involvement in human rights violations against Uyghurs and other minorities in the Xinjiang province,” TAC reported.

The three sanctioned firms doing business with Wicresoft reportedly are SenseTime Group Ltd., Cloudwalk Technology Co. Ltd. and iFlyTek.

TAC reported that SenseTime Group Ltd appears on the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control’s (OFAC) sanctions list with a CMIC designation, which stands for “Chinese Military-Industrial Complex Companies.”

CloudWalk is reportedly another CMIC company, added to the sanctions list in December 2021 for its development of technology designed to surveil ethnic minorities, including Tibetans and Uyghurs.

The third firm, iFlyTek, reportedly was sanctioned in October 2019 for its alleged participation in the oppression of the Uyghurs.

For its story, TAC interviewed  Trump administration Treasury and Commerce official Adam Korzeniewski, who said that Microsoft’s corporate structure is using loopholes in the U.S. sanctions regime—telling the publication that Microsoft is acting “against the spirit of the sanctions regime.”

Roger Robinson, the former Chairman of the Congressional U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, also told TAC, “there appears to be no question that Microsoft has deliberately averted its eyes from U.S.-sanctioned corporate human rights abusers that Wicresoft regards as valued ‘clients’, among them SenseTime, IflyTek and CloudWalk.”

“Make no mistake, continuing this calloused disregard for these, and perhaps other, Chinese corporate human rights offenders implicates Microsoft’s brand and corporate reputation,” Robinson reportedly added. “It would do well to shed its investment in Wicresoft forthwith.”

Ken Silva is a staff writer at Headline USA. Follow him at twitter.com/jd_cashless.

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