14:30 GMT25 October 2020
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    Beijing-based Megvii Technology - one of 28 Chinese entities blacklisted by the US Commerce Department over allegations of human rights violations in China’s Xinjiang province - is now reportedly linked to Hunter Biden, the son of former US Vice President and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.

    Hunter Biden is part of a group that has a 10-per cent stake in Megvii Technology through BHR Partners - a cross-border investment arm of China’s Bohai Industrial Investment Fund, but he is not a limited partner in the funds that own the company, according to Fox News.

    According to the media report, Megvii Technology, the firm in which BHR invested, creates face recognition software and deep-learning technology used, in part, to track ethnic minorities in China’s Xinjiang province - accusations which prompted the Trump administration to impose visa bans and other restrictions against Chinese entities and senior Beijing officials.

    US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday called on Beijing to end its reported mass arrests and incarcerations of the Uighur population, accusations consistently denied by Chinese authorities.

    Megvii Technology is reportedly backed by Chinese tech giant Alibaba. In August, the Beijing-based company filed for an initial public offering (IPO) in Hong Kong, seeking to raise up to $1 billion in a stock sale expected to occur before the end of the year, Fox News said. It remains, however, unclear whether the new US restrictions will stymie the firm's IPO.

    Hunter Biden and his father Joe Biden have been embroiled in a political scandal beginning in 2016 after then-US Vice President Joe Biden publicly admitted that he had demanded - threatening to withhold $1 billion in US military aid to Ukraine - to fire the Ukrainian prosecutor general who investigated the business dealings of Biden's son in Ukraine.

    On 24 September, congressional Democrats launched an impeachment inquiry into US President Donald Trump’s 25 July telephone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The inquiry was initiated after a whistleblower sent a complaint to the US Congress claiming that Trump had pressed Zelensky to investigate possible corruption by 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden, and threatened to withhold financial aid to Ukraine.

    Trump denied the allegations, suggesting that they were a political witch hunt intended to reverse the outcome of the 2016 US presidential election. The embattled US president then ordered a transcript of the telephone call with Zelensky to be declassified.

    The transcript revealed that the US president asked Zelensky to work with the former's personal lawyer and the Trump-appointed US attorney general to "look into" whether Joe Biden, who "went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution" was involved in possible corruption in Ukraine. The purportedly complete transcription, however, did not contain signs that the US president overtly threatened to withhold financial assistance to Ukraine.

    CNN earlier reported that Trump had discussed Joe Biden with Chinese President Xi Jinping in June, urging Beijing to launch investigations into the ex-vice president and his son.


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