US Gov China Commission (CECC) Cites IPVM on Hikvision

By: Charles Rollet, Published on Jan 09, 2020

The US Congress agency monitoring PRC human rights has cited IPVM's coverage of Hikvision's extensive Xinjiang activities in its flagship annual report.

IPVM Image

The report, which mentions Hikvision almost two dozen times, urges further US government action on the Xinjiang human rights crisis, calling for even tougher sanctions on companies "directly complicit".

In this post, we examine the report's citing of IPVM along with its broader impact, including:

  • Report Background
  • IPVM Work On Hikvision Cited
  • IPVM Coverage Of Infinova Cited
  • Hikvision Mentioned Many Times
  • Tiandy Called Out As Well
  • CECC Recommendations: Magnitsky Sanctions, Export Controls
  • Hikvision Declines to Comment
  • Conclusion

Background

Yesterday the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) released its 2019 report to the Congress and the President, which is the bipartisan agency's main purpose. While the report covers issues like Tibet and the Hong Kong protests, Xinjiang received heavy coverage as well - Uyghur activists even attended the report's release:

IPVM Image

IPVM Work on Hikvision Cited

IPVM's article Evidence Of Hikvision's Involvement With Xinjiang IJOP And Re-Education Camps was cited by the CECC:

IPVM Image

IPVM Infinova Coverage Mention

Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News
Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News

CECC cited IPVM's report on Infinova's Xinjiang activities as well:

IPVM Image

Hikvision Called Out Many Times

In total, the CECC report mentioned Hikvision almost two dozen times, indicating the firm has become the one of the most visible symbols of Chinese government surveillance/rights abuses. In one passage, the CECC even used Hikvision as an example of businesses being complicit in "egregious human rights violations":

IPVM Image

Tiandy Called Out As Well

The CECC mentioned Tiandy three times for selling "technology to Chinese authorities", stating "the government uses this technology to surveil rights advocates and others the government views as threats." The Tiandy mention is due to a Bloomberg report noting that Tiandy's founder is now a billionaire.

CECC Recommends Magnitsky Sanctions

Without mentioning Hikvision explicitly, the CECC recommended Global Magnitsky sanctions on companies "directly complicit" in Xinjiang:

Impose Global Magnitsky sanctions on both Chinese government officials carrying out severe human rights abuses in the XUAR as well as the companies directly complicit in those abuses.

Magnitsky sanctions are much tougher than the current sanctions in place against Hikvision; if passed, they would terminate Hikvision's USA presence altogether.

More Export Controls Urged

The CECC also recommends updating the ban on US firms selling China "crime control" equipment that was passed after the Tiananmen Square massacre. This would make it much harder for US companies to supply any Chinese surveillance firms, not just the ones sanctioned over Xinjiang like Hikvision/Dahua.

Hikvision Declines Comment

Hikvision told IPVM they decline to comment on the CECC report.

Conclusion

The CECC report is bad news for Hikvision, indicating that the company has become a prominent example of PRC government surveillance in Xinjiang; notably, Dahua was not even mentioned in the report although it also has extensive Xinjiang activities.

More broadly, if the report's recommendations are acted upon, even further restrictions on US business with Chinese security companies could very well be placed in the future. Considering these issues are anchored in human rights rather than technical/cybersecurity concerns, they are unlikely to go away anytime soon.

2 reports cite this report:

IPVM For PR / Marketing People on Apr 29, 2020
Since IPVM does not accept advertising nor sponsorships, etc., PR / marketing...
IPVM's 12th Anniversary - Thank You! on Apr 07, 2020
IPVM is proud to celebrate it's 12 anniversary expanding our commitment to...

Comments (11)

Only IPVM Members may comment. Login or Join.

I'm trying to understand the Magnitsky Sanction part (Wikipedia link). Here's what I'm getting:

  • The Magnitsky Sanctions ban the subject from entering the United States or using the U.S. banking systems, effectively freezing their assets.
  • Magnitsky Sanctions are usually applied to individuals (it has been likened to punishing the Nazi prison staff). However, when Dan Gertler was sanctioned, many of his affiliated entities were listed as well.
  • Senator Marco Rubio and several other senators called for Magnitsky Sanctions against Chinese officials involved in Xinjiang in August 2018.

If only Hikvision executives were sanctioned (and the company itself was not), I haven't a clue how that would affect things.

Hi, thanks for your comment. That's a good question. IPVM covered this last year and, as we mentioned, Magnitsky sanctions on the company are very serious and would effectively end Hikvision's USA operations and probably cause issues with their international operations too. Why? Magnitsky sanctions mean:

  • A freeze on all Hikvision assets – from property to cash – in the United States
  • A prohibition on Hikvision transactions with US persons/companies
  • Possible suspension of Hikvision executives’ right to obtain visas to the US

If only Hikvision executives were sanctioned, the impact wouldn't be nearly as severe, and would amount to more of a PR problem. However, that specific option has never been floated before. And the Magnitsky legislation is clear that companies as well as persons can be sanctioned.

(Source: Executive Order 13818 expanding 2016’s Global Magnitsky Act.)

"Surveillance research firm" > "small time blog"

I value the actual research John is doing, he puts a lot of effort into making this information available and I think that we need that today. We know the installers and end-users aren't finding this information on their own.

Next time you're at a business that has Hikvision cameras installed ask them what they know about it, in my experience it is next to nothing. One business in particular, Mike's Carwash to be precise, merely covered up the Hikvision logo after we asked them about it!

One business in particular, Mike's Carwash to be precise, merely covered up the Hikvision logo after we asked them about it!

OEMs should be pissed. The Car Wash is stealing their business model.

Any guess on the likelihood of the Magnitsky sanctions actually being imposed?

Good question, but the likelihood of Magnitsky sanctions on Hikvision is very difficult to predict. The President/Congress are under no obligation to act upon the CECC's suggestions. My (subjective) guess is that this unless we see a significant escalation in US-China tensions, or a substantial worsening of the (already very bad) Xinjiang situation, this option remains unlikely although still possible.

I think it's much more likely that Magnitsky sanctions are first imposed on Chen Quanguo, the PRC official in charge of Xinjiang, and his direct associates.

From various conversations I had last year, I think there was some moderate, if not significant, part of the day-to-day security industry population that felt Hikvision was going to avoid any long-term impacts from the sanctions and scrutiny. It seems there was an opinion that felt Hikvision was "too big to fail" in a way, and through lobbying/etc., would get through this, maybe weakened and chastised a bit, but more or less in tact.

The pressure not only seems to be not letting up on them, but is increasing, or at least maintaining strong momentum. By extension, I think we may start to see some increases in R&D spending and new product releases at other security industry companies that have clawed back some revenue and margin now that they do not need to compete so directly with Hikvision, et al.

Overall, I think that 2020 will be a potentially good year for any security industry product that is not built around Huawei components.

Anyone using the FAV button?

Honeywell/Resideo has/ had substantial sales into the PRC wonder what they are doing about this. Another spin off?

Validation such as being cited by a government report that addresses human suffering must be a very rewarding aspect of IPVM's effort. That's the kind of reward not even money, or Mastercard, can buy. Congratulations, John.

Related Reports

Hikvision Chairman Targeted For Sanctions As Federal Watchdog Calls Out Hikvision "Serious Religious Freedom Violations" on May 21, 2020
The US government's religious freedom watchdog has criticized Hikvision for...
US Passes Uyghur Human Rights Law Condemning Mass Surveillance on Jun 18, 2020
The US government has passed the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2020,...
Hikvision Put on US DoD "Communist Chinese Military Companies" List, Faces Risk of Presidential Sanctions on Jun 26, 2020
The US DoD has put Hikvision on a list of "Communist Chinese Military...
Hikvision Admits Sanctions Harming Its Financial Performance on Mar 27, 2020
While Hikvision initially downplayed being sanctioned for human rights...
Hikvision And Dahua Now Blocked From Conforming ONVIF Products on Apr 03, 2020
Dahua and Hikvision, sanctioned for human rights abuses, are now blocked from...
Netposa Stock Surges 46% After US Human Rights Abuse Sanctions on May 27, 2020
Last Friday, the US government announced it would sanction PRC video...
Hikvision Fever Screening Thermal Solutions Examined on Apr 13, 2020
Hikvision is marketing "safer, faster, smarter" with their Fever Screening...
Huawei HiSilicon Shortage Impacts Surveillance Manufacturers on Aug 14, 2020
Huawei acknowledged problems and challenges for its HiSilicon chip business,...
Sunell is The First China Manufacturer to Market NDAA Compliance on Jul 30, 2020
Most China manufacturers are going to be impacted by the NDAA 'Blacklist...
Chilean Official Investigated for Motorola And Hikvision Contracts on Sep 17, 2020
A corruption investigation is underway in Chile after a crime prevention...
Temperature Screening Is Ineffective, Says US, UK, Canada, Israel, And Ireland Health Leaders on Aug 25, 2020
Health leaders around the world are increasingly speaking out about the...
Hikvision Hides Xinjiang R&D Activities on Apr 22, 2020
Hikvision has systematically deleted evidence showing their R&D base and...
JCI / Tyco Security Products Layoffs on Jun 05, 2020
Johnson Controls / Tyco Security Products has confirmed COVID-19 related...
Convergint Coronavirus Cuts on Mar 25, 2020
One of the world's largest security integrators, Convergint, has made a major...
Honeywell Warns of Huawei, Advocates Futureproofing on Aug 31, 2020
For years, Honeywell has profited from OEMing Dahua and using Huawei...

Recent Reports

Mobile Access Control Usage Statistics 2020 on Sep 21, 2020
Most smartphones can be used as access control credentials, but how...
Axis Compares Fever Camera Sellers to 9/11 on Sep 18, 2020
Axis Communications, the West's largest surveillance camera manufacturer, has...
Chilean Official Investigated for Motorola And Hikvision Contracts on Sep 17, 2020
A corruption investigation is underway in Chile after a crime prevention...
Huawei HiSilicon Production Shut Down on Sep 17, 2020
Huawei HiSilicon chips are no longer being manufactured or supplied to...
Virtual ISC West and GSX+ Exhibiting Contrasted on Sep 17, 2020
Both ISC West and ASIS GSX are going virtual this year, just weeks apart, but...
X.Labs Sues FLIR on Sep 16, 2020
X.Labs, the maker of Feevr, has sued FLIR, the publicly traded thermal...
Video Surveillance 101 September Course - Last Chance on Sep 16, 2020
Today is the last chance to sign up for the Fall Video Surveillance 101...
No Blackbody Mistake, Half Million Dollar, Hikvision Fever Camera System in Georgia on Sep 16, 2020
A Georgia school district touted buying Hikvision fever screening "about...
Costar Technologies / Arecont H1 2020 Financials Examined on Sep 16, 2020
Costar's financial results have been hit by the coronavirus with the company...
Startup Cawamo Presents Live Alerts With Edge AI and Cloud VMS on Sep 15, 2020
Cawamo, an Israeli edge-to-cloud analytics and VMS startup, presented its...
Favorite Access Control Credentials 2020 on Sep 15, 2020
Credential choice is more debated than ever, with hacking risk for 125kHz and...
Dangerous Hikvision Fever Screening Marketing In Africa on Sep 15, 2020
A multi-national African Hikvision distributor is marketing dangerously...
New Products Show Fall 2020 Announced - Register Now on Sep 14, 2020
IPVM's sixth online show will feature New Products from over 25...
Hanwha 8K / 33MP Camera Tested on Sep 14, 2020
Hanwha Techwin has released an 8K / 33MP resolution camera, the TNB-9000 with...