This paper examines the sanctions imposed on “Communist Chinese Military Companies” (CCMCs) by the Trump administration in 2020, and their 2021 modification by President Biden, which target Chinese companies in “defense and related materiel” and “surveillance technology” industries. The first part of the paper introduces key executive orders and relevant legal provisions. The second part of the paper provides a detailed analysis of successful court injunctions obtained by two Chinese companies, Xiaomi and Luokung, as well as their implications for the defects of the original CCMC process. Next, the paper evaluates the continued inclusion of several companies on the current list, from June 2021, casting doubt on how much President Biden’s modified executive order would improve the inconsistent, if not arbitrary, decision-making process. The last part of the paper questions the underlying assumptions that sanctions introduced in such a hasty fashion would contain national security threats China posed to the U.S., make Chinese people better off, or establish the U.S. as a staunch defender of the rule of law.
Keywords: China, United States, sanctions, military companies.