“U.S. Customs and Border Protection does not have any record of detained laptops matching this description,” the agency said in a statement.
The Department of Commerce said it added Hefei Bitland to its so-called Entity List, which restricts the export and in-country transfer of items by sanctioned companies. “It does not apply to the importation of Chromebooks from China,” the department said in a statement, adding, however, “we should all agree that American school children should not be using computers from China that were produced from forced labor.”
There are no nationwide tallies on the numbers of laptops and other devices that schools are waiting for. The Associated Press found that some of America’s biggest school districts are among those with outstanding orders of Chromebooks, other laptops or hotspots for internet connections, including Los Angeles, Clark County, Nevada, Wake County, North Carolina, Houston, Palm Beach and Hawaii, the nation’s only statewide school district.
A recent poll of California’s 1,100 districts showed schools across the state are waiting on at least 300,000 backordered computers, said Mary Nicely, a senior policy advisor to the state superintendent. A survey in Alabama found that about 20 schools were waiting on 33,000 computers, said Ryan Hollingsworth, director of the School Superintendents of Alabama.
Smaller districts in Montana, New York, Indiana, Maryland, Ohio, New Hampshire and elsewhere are also waiting on laptop orders, with delivery dates that have become moving targets.