Hikvision Growing Xinjiang OperationsBy Charles Rollet, Published Nov 30, 2020, 08:05am EST
Hikvision's massive Xinjiang operations are growing, with the firm showcasing the China Communist Party Constitution and boasting how a customer told them "we support any business that is sanctioned by the US", IPVM has found.
Watch this 2-minute video for an overview:
This contradicts Hikvision's pledge to take human rights concerns "very seriously" and even have a former UN ambassador review its Xinjiang operations. One and a half years later, the ambassador's investigation remains a secret while Hikvision Xinjiang is expanding.
Early this year, Norway's Council of Ethics found Hikvision has "facilitated serious human rights abuses" that are ongoing. Hikvision was sanctioned by the US government over "human rights abuses and violations" in October 2019
Hikvision did not respond with comment to IPVM's questions but promptly deleted their video where a Xinjiang employee boasted that sanctions actually helped their sales.
Hikvision's Huge Xinjiang Workforce Grows
Xinjiang is relatively sparsely populated with about 21 million people, comparable to Sri Lanka or Bukina Faso. Yet the Hikvision Xinjiang Business Center employed "about 500" people by the end of 2019, up from "about 450" in late 2018, according to its job ads. In March 2020 Hikvision Xinjiang issued a call for 10 new software engineers:
UPDATE: In an October 2020 response to a UK Parliament committee, Hikvision UK said Hikvision's Xinjiang branch "employs more than 300 people". This contradicts the latest figures from Hikvision's own job ads, which showed Hikvision Xinjiang employed "about 500" people by the end of 2019. Hikvision told IPVM "The job ads didn’t include the updated employee number”. IPVM asked Hikvision whether the Hikvision Xinjiang branch had somehow seen a substantial staff reduction from ~500 to ~300, on this, Hikvision declined to comment.
Hikvision has offices in 8 Xinjiang locations: Urumqi (its headquarters) along with branches in Kashgar, Bazhou, Aksu, Hotan, Hami, Yili, and Karamay, according to this November 2019 ad, which notes that "other [Xinjiang prefectures have also set up branches".
Hikvision touted its many Xinjiang branches in this November 2019 video celebrating its 10 year anniversary, just weeks after the US government imposed sanctions over "human rights violations and abuses" there:
Communist Party Constitution Touted
In the video, Hikvision Xinjiang employees at one unnamed branch can be seen standing in front of a Chinese Communist Party poster which details key parts of the CCP Constitution:
The main slogan on the poster is "不忘初心-砥砺前行", a saying coined by Xi Jinping in 2017 which instructs people to "keep your mission [as a Party member] firmly in mind". The CCP Constitution instructs, among other things, to "never betray the Party" and "carry out the Party's decisions".
Hikvision is a state-controlled company whose chairman Chen Zongnian is the Communist Party Secretary of Hikvision's parent company and delegate to the National People's Congress.
Hikvision Xinjiang Employee Boasts Sanctions Actually Helped
In another Hikvision Xinjiang video found by IPVM that was released in January 2020, a Hikvision Xinjiang employee says (at 2:49) that "the most memorable thing for [him] at Hikvision" is "when a customer told me: we support any business that is sanctioned by the US":
The fact that Hikvision chose to showcase this quote shows these are not just one employee's views, but those of the company itself.
Ongoing Financing Of Huge Surveillance Projects
In Hikvision's 2020 half-year report, the firm disclosed that it is financing around $145m worth of Xinjiang police video surveillance projects until various dates ranging from 2028 to 2040:
Hikvision's Xinjiang "Human Rights Compliance" Report Still Under Wraps
In May 2019, when Hikvision was first threatened by the Trump administration with sanctions over its Xinjiang activities, the firm said it "takes these concerns very seriously" and had hired a former US ambassador to the UN to examine "human rights compliance":
In light of [concerns over Xinjiang], the company has already retained human rights expert and former U.S. ambassador Pierre-Richard Prosper to advise the company regarding human rights compliance.
However, Hikvision has kept this report and its conclusions secret. The latest update is from April 2020 when it said it had "recently received the draft version of Arent Fox’ s final report and is reviewing it" while it was "in process of implementing some of the recommendations provided, such as establishing a global Advisory Committee."
Video Deleted, No Response
IPVM requested comment from Hikvision 4 days before publication. While they did not respond, after our email, the Hikvision Xinjiang video with the employee boasting about US sanctions was deleted. Similarly, Hikvision deleted their Uyghur detecting AI camera marketing and their Xinjiang paramilitary project evidence after IPVM requested comment on those topics.
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