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Hikvision Platform Set Alarms On Falun Gong, Protesters, Religion

Published Dec 29, 2022 06:19 AM

A Hikvision software platform for PRC police has alarms for Falun Gong practitioners, protestors, and religion, IPVM has verified.

These alarms are listed on Hikvision's own website alongside offences such as homicide, gambling, kidnapping, rape, and drugs.

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Hikvision deleted the Falun Gong and religion alarm references shortly after IPVM reached out for comment, but did not respond to IPVM.

IPVM collaborated with UK newspaper The Guardian on this report, see its article Police in China can track protests by enabling ‘alarms’ on Hikvision software.

Related IPVM investigations into Hikvision's offerings inside the PRC include:

Hikvision IoT Platform For Smart Policing

Hikvision's Intelligent Application Platform /智能应用平台 (Infovision IoT in English) is a cloud platform focused on the "aggregation, storage, and processing" of data. "Smart policing" for events is one of the main use cases of the platform, with Hikvision touting how "Hikvision's core IoT AI capabilities and data analysis" can be leveraged by police to "investigate and deal with illegal and criminal activities" at "large-scale events", for example, at the China International Vegetable Science and Technology Expo of 2018:

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Falun Gong Alarms

In an Infovision IoT guide published on its own website, Hikvision includes "Falun Gong and other cults" (法轮功等邪教类) in a list of "alarm types" (报警类型) such as "gambling" (涉赌类) which is illegal in the PRC, "drugs" (涉毒类), "suspicious persons" (可疑人员), and more:

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Other alarms included in the same list include homicide (杀人), rape (强奸), and kidnapping (绑架), along with lesser offenses like traffic accidents (交通事故), neighborhood disputes (邻里纠纷), and drunkenness (醉酒类).

Falun Gong Background

Falun Gong (法轮功) describes itself as "a spiritual practice "rooted in Buddhist tradition" followed by "millions" that are persecuted as "the number one enemy of the Chinese Communist Party" because its principles are "Incompatible with Communist, Atheist Ideology". The PRC government banned Falun Gong in 1999 for "illegal activities, advocating superstition and spreading fallacies, hoodwinking people, inciting and creating disturbances, and jeopardizing social stability".

Falun Gong is only illegal in the PRC and the US State Department recently sanctioned a PRC individual for "gross violations of human rights, namely arbitrary detention of Falun Gong practitioners, which also amount to particularly severe violations of religious freedom."

Religion Alarms

The Hikvision Infovision IoT guide also includes "religion" (宗教) as one of the alarms, although it does not go into any further detail on what would trigger such an alarm:

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In the PRC, certain religious activities are illegal, with Article 4 of the Religious Affairs Regulations banning the use of religion to "endanger national security, disrupt social order, damage citizens' health, and obstruct the national education system" and mandating that religions "practice core socialist values and safeguard national unity".

Protestor Alarms

The Hikvision Infovision IoT guide lists numerous alarms for protestors e.g. an alarm for "unlawful assemblies, processions, demonstrations" (非法集会、游行、示威) and alarms related to "gathering crowds" (聚众) that disrupt traffic, authorities, and public order:

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Article 35 of the PRC constitution guarantees the right of citizens to freedom of assembly. However, "assembly rights are severely restricted" in the PRC, according to Freedom House with PRC state media describing protestors in Hong Kong as "rioters" and "madness".

Petitioner Alarms

The Hikvision guide also has alarms for "threatening to petition" (扬言上访) and "petitioner class" (上访类) of people. Petitioners are people who lodge petitions with PRC authorities seeking redress in a technically legal but heavily controlled process, with petitioners often imprisoned or beaten up by police, per Human Rights Watch. In January 2022, IPVM exposed how Hikvision won a deal with PRC police to build a system that could predict the likelihood of petitioners entering Beijing.

Hikvision Deletes, No Response

Shortly after IPVM reached out, Hikvision deleted Alarm #813 for Falun Gong and Alarm #716 for Religion from its Infovision IoT guide.

Hikvision did not respond to IPVM's questions or to questions from The Guardian.

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