A Chinese Chinese surveillance company that was “implicated” by the United States and subsequently blacklisted by it for its gross violation of human rights violations in China’s efforts to deal with the Uighur Muslim minority uprising will be promoted by the government of the United Kingdom.
The UK government is hosting a Security and Policing trade fair in Farnborough in March and the Chinese company under the scanner – Hikvision, a surveillance equipment manufacturer that was reportedly active in China’s western Xinjiang province, has been allowed to participate by the Home Office of the UK.
A call on the government to rethink the invitation was given by a Conservative backbencher of the country. The company was accused of helping with “high-technology surveillance against Uighurs” by the US president Donald Trump’s administration just a few months ago.
According to an analysis of the 300 companies that have been listed to attend the fair, conducted by the internet research company Top10VPN and shared with the media, apart from the Chinese firm, there are eight other companies that have been accused of threatening human rights in the past and have been included in the list of attendees.
He hoped the Home Office would reconsider the invitation, said The Tory MP Bob Seely. “We need to stop having an ethical bypass when it comes to China and hi-tech. If we are going to proclaim UK values and standards, we need at least the appearance of consistency,” he said.
There were reports last week in the British press that divulged that the NSO Group was to be hosted by the British government at the trade event. It is alleged that the hacking technology developed by this Israeli company was used for targeting journalists, academics and human rights campaigners. Such allegations have however been denied by the NSO, saying that its hacking technology is only used by clients for fighting crime and terrorism.
There can be new tensions between the US and the UK because of the decision to include and host Hikvision at the fair, say analysts. The US was angered after Boris Johnson’s government decided to allow the Chinese telecom giant Huawie, which has been banned by the US over allegations of its equipment being used for spying by Chinese agencies, to participate in the development of 5G telecom networks in the UK – albeit in a limited manner and in the non-core segments only. The US has been urging its allies – including Britain, to put a ban on Huawei.
Britain’s Huawei decision has angered the White House and US vice-president, Mike Pence, had suggested that this decision could delay a US-UK trade agreement, even though the UK has attempted to justify its position by saying that it has allowed Huawei in certain unimportant aspects of 5G network development and has limited the participation to 35 per cent of the demand.
According to the UK Home Office, the Farnborough event has helped the country to deepen its “strong security alliances around the world and for our international partners to understand and hear about the work we are doing to keep our country secure”.
(Adapted from TheGuardian.com)