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U.S. limits exports to flight schools, others for training Chinese military pilots

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By Karen Freifeld

(Reuters) -The Biden administration on Monday added 43 entities to an export control list, including Frontier Services Group Ltd, a security and aviation company previously run by Erik Prince, for training Chinese military pilots and other activities that threaten U.S. national security.

The Test Flying Academy of South Africa, a flight school under scrutiny by authorities in Britain for recruiting British ex-military pilots to train Chinese military fliers, was also added to the U.S. Commerce Department’s Entity List.

Companies on the list are restricted from receiving U.S. exports for activities deemed contrary to U.S. interests.

The new listings include Frontier Services Group sites in China, Kenya, Laos and the United Arab Emirates; TFASA units in South Africa, China, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom; and AVIC entities in China and South Africa.

The aviation-related companies were listed for providing training to Chinese military pilots using Western and NATO sources, according to a rule posted for the Federal Register.

Thirty-one Chinese entities in total were added to the list, some for acquiring U.S.-origin items in support of China’s military modernization, such as hypersonic weapons development.

Shanghai Supercomputing Technology Co Ltd was added for offering cloud-based supercomputing capabilities to support hypersonics research.

Nine Chinese and Pakistani companies were added based on their contributions to Pakistan’s ballistic missile program and other weapons contributions.

And two companies were added for enabling China to carry out human rights abuses, including as part of its repression of the Ugyhur Muslims and members of other minority groups in Xinjiang, western China.U.N. experts and rights groups estimate that over a million people, mainly Uyghurs and Muslim minorities, have been detained in camps in China’s western region of Xinjiang in recent years, with many saying they were subject to ideological training and abuse.

China has denied all accusations of abuse.

The U.S. also removed Fiber Optic Solutions in Latvia from the Entity List. Fiber Optic Solutions, which produces fiber optic gyroscopes and other equipment, was added in December for its contributions to the Russian military and/or defense industrial base.

Erik Prince, a private security executive, was the founder of the security firm Blackwater. According to his LinkedIn profile, Prince was vice chair of Frontier Services Group from 2014 to 2021.

(Reporting by Karen FreifeldEditing by Chris Sanders and Alistair Bell)

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