China On Slippery Grounds As UK Restricts Chinese-Made Surveillance Systems

The U.K. Cabinet Office has told central government departments to stop installing Chinese-made surveillance systems on “sensitive sites,”…
  • The U.K. Cabinet Office has told central government departments to stop installing Chinese-made surveillance systems on “sensitive sites,” citing security risks, Financial Times reported.
  • Cabinet Office minister Oliver Dowden said it would cover visual surveillance equipment “produced by companies subject to the National Intelligence Law of the People’s Republic of China.” 
  • A security review found that “in light of the threat to the U.K. and the increasing capability and connectivity of these systems, additional controls are required.”
  • Also Read: China’s Sophisticated Spying Tactics Are Making It Difficult For US, UK, EU Intelligence To Detect
  • The move comes just after Rishi Sunak, prime minister, said China posed a “systemic challenge” to the U.K. and called it “undoubtedly the biggest state-based threat to our economic security.” 
  • It also comes months after the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) decided to stop purchasing cameras from Hikvision, the world’s largest surveillance camera provider.
  • In 2019, the U.S. placed multiple Chinese artificial intelligence surveillance companies, including video-camera makers Hikvision and Dahua, on its trade blacklist for aiding the “repression, mass arbitrary detention and high-technology surveillance” of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in China’s northwestern region of Xinjiang.
  • The European Parliament last year removed the Hikvision thermal cameras used to monitor visitors for fever.
  • This year, a broad coalition of 67 members of the U.K. parliament called for a ban on all U.K. sales of Dahua and Hikvision equipment on ethical grounds, citing the companies’ involvement in Xinjiang.
  • Dutch trade minister Liesje Schreinemacher said the Netherlands is in talks with the U.S. government about new export restrictions for semiconductor equipment to China, Reuters reports.
  • Under pressure from the U.S., the Dutch government has since 2018 prohibited semiconductor equipment maker ASML Holdings NV (NASDAQ: ASML) licenses to ship its most advanced machines to China, fearing their “dual use” with potential military applications.
  • Photo: Body Stock and Dragon Claws by Shutterstock
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