Bundestag discusses human rights violations against Uyghurs and Kazakhs in northwestern China
The role of Chinese high-tech companies in the prosecution of nationalities must be investigated (Press Release)
According to the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP), the German Federal Government should investigate what role China's high-tech companies are playing in connection with human rights violations against Uyghurs and Kazakhs – and the German Bundestag, which will discuss the persecution of Uyghurs and Kazakhs in the Xinjiang region in the northwest of the People's Republic today, could urge the Federal Government to do so.
"Consumers in Germany have a right to know which companies are involved in the development of questionable products, and whether supplier companies of the manufacturers of mobile phones, laptops, computers, and video cameras are also making their technology available to the Chinese state security," explained Ulrich Delius, the STP’s director, in Göttingen on Thursday. He recalled that one of the goals of the National Action Plan for Business and Human Rights (NAP), adopted by the German Federal Government in December 2016, is to draw attention to the human rights responsibility of foreign supplier companies.
"The region in which most of the Uyghurs and Kazakhs live has become an experimental laboratory for the development of new tools of repression," Delius criticized. China is the market leader in the development of artificial intelligence. In Xinjiang, technologies such as facial recognition software are used to systematically destroy the ethnic and cultural identity of the Uyghurs and Kazakhs.
The human rights organization demanded investigations into credible reports by Chinese media regarding questionable deliveries to Xinjiang – for example from the Hikvision company, which also offers monitoring technology in Germany. Hikvision is said to have provided surveillance technology to monitor mosques and reeducation camps in the Uyghur region, and the company received a $ 53 million order to install a facial recognition system in the Pishan District in 2017.
"It's a good thing that the German government has publicly condemned the persecution of the Uyghurs and Kazakhs in China," Delius stated. However, Germany's influence on China's governance is limited. Thus, it will be necessary to find new ways to show the Chinese industry that helping to bring about inhumane surveillance programs is incompatible with ethical business practices.
Header picture: JM via Flickr