(TibetanReview.net, Feb08’22) – Nearly two-thirds of the local councils throughout the United Kingdom are using CCTV cameras manufactured by Hikvision, a Chinese state-owned company that has been linked to human rights abuses against Tibetans and Uyghurs, said London-based group Free Tibet Feb 7, citing a research it carried out with Big Brother Watch.
At least 275 UK councils, in every part of the nation, are using the equipment, the group said.
The group said that a series of Freedom of Information requests submitted by it and Big Brother Watch to every UK council resulted in hundreds admitting that they used Hikvision equipment despite its well-known links to oppression. This included 19 of the 32 London boroughs and nearly every council in Scotland.
It said that only one council, the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, which has been chosen by the Chinese government for the location of its new British embassy, explicitly ruled out using Hikvision on human rights grounds. The borough has already taken a stand on the relocation issue and is considering renaming streets around the new embassy in honour of victims of Chinese government oppression.
The group described Hikvision as one of several companies supporting the creation of a surveillance state in Tibet, leading to the occupied country being labelled one of the least free places in the world by Freedom House. The company is also involved in what several countries now call a genocide of the Uyghur people in the area governed as Xinjiang.
Hikvision CCTV camera system are said to have been revealed to have significant security flaws that could allow images recorded in Scotland being transmitted to China without consent. As a result, they are banned from use by the US government and the UK’s Ministry of Defence advises other departments against using them, the group noted.
Free Tibet has urged the UK’s Foreign Secretary to ban Hikvision cameras and stop funding Chinese government oppression and has launched an online petition for this purpose.