December 1, 2022 | Press Release


December 1, 2022 | Press Release


WASHINGTON, D.C., December 1, 2022 – A Chinese company that sells facial recognition and other surveillance equipment to Iran is not currently subject to any U.S. sanctions or export controls. Further, a major American company provides critical microchips to the Chinese firm, according to a new Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) report issued today. 

Tiandy Technologies, Inc., based in the northern China province of Tianjin, supplies products used by Chinese Communist Party officials to track and torture Uyghur Muslims and other ethnic minorities, according to FDD report “Targeting Tiandy: The Case for Blacklisting a Chinese Tech Firm Tied to Crackdowns on Uyghurs and Iranian Protestors.

 In addition to being a top supplier to China’s security services, Tiandy has also reportedly sold its surveillance technology to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and other Iranian government entities, writes Craig Singleton, the report’s author and FDD Senior Fellow.  

Among the Tiandy products reportedly sold to Iran are network video recorders that digitize and store surveillance videos, using microchips Tiandy produced in partnership with U.S. manufacturer Intel. Tiandy also manufacturers “tiger chairs” used by Chinese authorities to immobilize and torture Uyghurs, Tibetans, and other minorities in China. 

“Chinese leader Xi Jinping remains deeply committed to remaking the world in China’s techno-dystopian image,” says Singleton, who serves as deputy director of FDD’s China Program. “While democracies remain slow in responding to international crises, the proliferation of companies like Tiandy represents an existential threat to democratic values the world over.” 

The FDD report comes as Iranian and Chinese authorities continue brutal crackdowns on domestic protests. 

Despite Tiandy’s role in helping the authoritarian regimes in Beijing and Tehran, the company is not subject to U.S. sanctions or export controls, Singleton writes. “For too long, companies like Tiandy have operated with impunity. Action against Tiandy would send a clear message that Washington takes Chinese techno-authoritarianism seriously and will hold accountable those who facilitate Beijing and Tehran’s abuses,” Singleton says. 

Singleton’s report outlines numerous productive steps for the United States, including: 

  • The Treasury Department should consider  Magnitsky sanctions to remove Tiandy, its owner, and stakeholders from the international financial system and global supply chains.
  • The Treasury Department should also evaluate adding Tiandy and its CEO to the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List under its broad Iran human rights sanctions authorities. 
  • The White House should determine whether Tiandy’s operations violate portions of the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2020 and, if so, impose the sanctions mandated against foreign persons responsible for using torture, or cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment and punishment against the Uyghurs and others.
  • The Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security should consider including Tiandy on its Entity List, thereby restricting the export of U.S. technology and components to the company by subjecting them to license requirements and/or export bans on specific items, such as U.S.-produced semiconductors and associated parts. The Department should also engage Intel to discuss the national security and human rights implications stemming from its ‘titanium partnership’ with Tiandy.
  • The Federal Communications Commission should weigh banning Tiandy’s products in the United States, consistent with its authorities in the Secure Equipment Act of 2021.
  • The State Department should contemplate visa revocations for Tiandy’s CEO and select officials. 

FDD’s China Program and Barish Center for Media Integrity work closely with each of FDD’s programs and centers, including FDD’s Center on Military and Political Power, Center on Economic and Financial Power, Center on Cyber and Technology Innovation, and Iran Program.

To arrange an interview with Craig Singleton, please contact FDD media relations at [email protected]. 


About the Foundation for Defense of Democracies: 

FDD is a Washington, DC-based, nonpartisan policy institute focused on national security and foreign policy. Connect with FDD on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. 


China Iran Iran Global Threat Network Iran Sanctions Sanctions and Illicit Finance