WASHINGTON—The Trump administration on Monday blacklisted a major Chinese government-owned defense company it said sold goods to Venezuela that aided political repression by the regime of President Nicolás Maduro.
The U.S. Treasury Department said goods sold by China National Electronics Import & Export Corp., or CEIEC, helped the Maduro government restrict internet service and conduct digital surveillance and cyber operations against political opponents.
The action comes amid diplomatic tensions between Washington and Beijing across issues including commerce, espionage, military operations and relations with Hong Kong and Taiwan.
The sanctions precede a Dec. 6 parliamentary election in Venezuela that the U.S. says will be fraudulent. The Trump administration says the Maduro government fixed previous elections and maintains an illegitimate hold on power through repression of the political opposition.
The U.S. has backed the government-in-exile led by Juan Guaído as the country’s only legitimate authority. The U.S. views the Maduro government as a major security threat, citing its relationships with Iran, China, Russia and South American drug cartels.