Monday, 15 March 2021 10:10

US judge puts Pentagon 'China military listing' of Xiaomi on hold Featured

US judge puts Pentagon 'China military listing' of Xiaomi on hold Image by Dmitry Abramov from Pixabay

A federal judge in the US has prevented a ban on the Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi, put in place in January, from being enforced, calling the decision "deeply flawed".

Judge Rudolph Contreras put the Pentagon's decision on hold on Friday, saying the government had failed to show that Xiaomi had links to the Chinese military, the Wall Street Journal reported.

In January, the Pentagon issued a fresh list of Chinese companies that it alleged had links to Beijing's military, with Xiaomi being among the nine. Prior to that in July last year, a number of companies were similarly listed, with the Chinese business partner of Swedish telecommunications company Ericsson and Huawei among them.

Xiaomi filed a lawsuit in the US District Court in Washington, DC, seeking to overturn the designation.

“Xiaomi is a publicly traded company that produces commercial products for civilian use, is controlled by its independent board and controlling shareholders, and is not effectively controlled or associated with others under the ownership or control of the PRC [People's Republic of China] or its security services,” Judge Contreras said.

Reacting to the judge's opinion, Xiaomi said the court had removed the restriction on Americans buying securities in the company, and also stayed a requirement for US citizens to divest any holdings they had in the firm.

"The company reiterates that it is a publicly traded and independently operated and managed corporation that offers consumer electronics products solely for civilian use," the statement said.

"The company believes that the decisions of designating it as a CCMC [Communist Chinese Military Company] are arbitrary and capricious, and the judge agrees. The company will continue to request that the court permanently remove the designation."

The Pentagon has yet to react to the judge's decision.

Xiaomi is generally among the top five smartphone vendors globally. According to figures from technology analyst firm Counterpoint Research, the company stood fourth behind Samsung, Apple and Huawei for the calendar year 2020.

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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