Hikvision Chairman Joins China National Government (NPC)

By John Honovich, Published on Mar 13, 2018

Hikvision Chairman and Communist Party Secretary Chen Zongnian has joined the People's Republic of China's government - the National People's Congress. This is a first for a video surveillance manufacturer from any country though Hikvision is owned by the Chinese government.

Below, on the left, is Hikvision's Chairman and, on the right, China's Paramount Leader Xi Jinping. Note: both are NPC delegates wearing the official red badge:

Here is Hikvision's Chairman official NPC government profile:

Hikvision's Chairman is now a member of the same National Congress that Xi Jinping, China's Paramount leader is:

While Hikvision has been silent on this outside of China, Hikvision's government owner, CETHIK, has been touting his new position, e.g, 1 and 2.

Indeed, Hikvision's Chairman has been on a Chinese media tour, including an interview with Chinese government's newspaper, Xinhua, and many others (e.g., 1, 2, 3, 4).

Hikvision's Own Profile

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Chen has been leading Hikvision from the beginning when the Chinese government founded Hikvision, as the 52nd Institute. He is described in Hikvision's 2016 financial report:

Hikvision And The China Communist Party

This may be considered a promotion for Chen, as he has been Hikvision / CETHIK's Communist Party Secretary for some time, as this photo of Hikvision's Chairman Chen and his #2 Hu Yangzhou at a 2015 Communist Party meeting show:

At that same time, Hikvision's own Chinese website shared Chen declaring their allegiance to the Party:

"Every party member must consciously accept the [Communist] party's leadership, effectively strengthening the party's leadership, strengthen the Party's vitality, comply with party discipline.... All Party members united as one, as "personal dream", "Hikvision Dream", "China Dream" and efforts!" [emphasis added]

Hikvision Chen Joining National People's Congress

Hikvision's Chen joins the National People's Congress (NPC), the legislature of the PRC's government. The NPC is roughly equivalent to the UK Parliament or the US Congress if those Western legislatures were only selected by Communist Party members, rather than the general population.

NPC Ratifying Xi Jinping / Power For Hikvision

The NPC just removed term limits with a 99.8% vote. Xi Jinping is now poised to rule indefinitely, 'president for life'. This is a very positive move for Hikvision, who has a strong relationship with China's paramount leader, back to when Xi was Party Secretary of Zhejiang province (Hikvision's home) in the 2000s.

Maintains All Positions

Chen will simultaneously be a member of the National People's Congress, Communist Party Secretary and Chairman of Hikvision. While this is atypical in the West where fears or laws against conflict of interest would block that, the PRC works differently. This is not a first, e.g., Hikvision's VP of R&D simultaneously works for the Ministry of Public Security. This is great for Hikvision as it will expand their already formidable influence in Beijing.

Western Impact

Hikvision has come under Western criticism for its Chinese government ownership, most notably in a 2017 WSJ investigation and a 2016 London Times report. However, Hikvision continues to aggressively expand its Western sales and marketing expenditures.

For a technology manufacturer executive to become a member of country's government, is atypical to say the least, and unprecedented in video surveillance. With video surveillance becoming more critical (as both AI and privacy concerns grow) and the PRC government's relationship with Western countries become more strained, Hikvision's Chairman government position will certainly strengthen Hikvision's domestic position but could cause more concern with Western governments.

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Comments (14)

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Hikvision supporters, please stop with the "Golly jee, Hikvision is just a lowly tech startup that works hard, there's nothing to do with the government." It's an issue of trust.

And if you are in a Western country, you need to start asking yourself - Do you really want network video surveillance products from a company whose Chairman is a member of an authoritarian, anti-Democratic government?

And if you are in a Western country, you need to start asking yourself - Do you really want network video surveillance products from a company whose Chairman is a member of an authoritarian, anti-Democratic government?

Most definitely a different culture... I live in the "free" US and have to hide that I'm a conservative Republican from most of my Antifa-Lite coworkers (Seattle area). This guy's a hardcore communist and my coworkers buy his cameras.  

I live in the "free" US and have to hide that I'm a conservative Republican

This isn't a Republican/Democrat or Liberal/Conservative issue.  This is a trunkslammer issue.

This is a trunkslammer issue.

I think it's much bigger than trunkslammers. Think of Hikvision's 400+ North American employees, etc.

Hikvision has done great job exploiting 2 weaknesses of Westerners:

  • Ignorance of China - Overwhelmingly Americans know very little about the PRC, assuming all counties are open democracies like the West. It makes it easy to dismiss concerns.
  • Greed - Combine ignorance with greed, the Chinese know that many Americans are more than happy to look the other way to make money. Whether its the Hikvision USA RSMs making more money than they ever did in their lives or the trade magazines which Hikvision has become the top customer of or the dealers who have never gotten such discounts, free trips, etc. from.

Note: I have changed the title from 'elected' to 'joined' since 'elected' among English speaking Western readers imply open democratic events, whereas this was not.

Update: I've clarified the opening photo since I've now realized that some people in the West do not either Xi Jinping is or what he looks like.

Below, on the left, is Hikvision's Chairman and, on the right, China's Paramount Leader Xi Jinping. Note: both are wearing the NPC government red badge:

Nothing more needs to be said than:  Chen will simultaneously be a member of the National People's Congress, Communist Party Secretary and Chairman of Hikvision. While this is atypical in the West where fears or laws against conflict of interest would block that, the PRC works differently. This is not a first, e.g., Hikvision's VP of R&D simultaneously works for the Ministry of Public Security. This is great for Hikvision as it will expand their already formidable influence in Beijing.

I have no good impression of Hikvision either, but this article does not get facts straight.

First, there is no such thing as “NPC government red badge”. It’s ID badge for NPC meetings, and it doesn’t necessarily indicate whoever wearing it is with the government.

Second, Hikvision chairman is a NPC delegate, not in anyway a government official, and in the picture he was wearing NPC delegate badge.

 

Get your facts straight - if you want to expose someone. It’s funny to read this article for anyone who can read Chinese language or is familiar with Chinese political system - literally it’s just like saying “Elon Musk joins US government” because there is some picture in which he and Trump both wear a badge for a conference...

Thanks for the feedback.

Hikvision chairman is a NPC delegate, not in anyway a government official

Of course, Hikvision's chairman, as an NPC delegate, is a government official. Saying an NPC delegate is not a government official is like saying a US congressman is not a government official.

Let's establish some facts and I'll link to primary Chinese sources to prove this.

(1) The NPC is the political system of the PRC, not a 'conference', as you claim, it is as the NPC's own website explains:

The system of people's congresses is the basic political system of China. The Constitution of the People's Republic of China prescribes that all power of the state belongs to the people. The National People's Congress(NPC)and local people's congresses at all levels are the organs through which the people exercise state power. (Emphasis added)

(2) Delegates / deputies of the NPC have core political responsibilities, again as the NPC's own website explains:

NPC deputies are members of the supreme state power organ. The responsibilities they hold during sessions of the NPC include the following: 

To deliberate bills and reports on the session's agenda; 

To submit bills within the scope of the NPC's authority in accordance with the law; 

To submit motions for amending the Constitution in accordance with the procedure prescribed in the Constitution; (emphasis added)

(3) Chen Zongnian is an NPC delegate, as the NPC's own official website displays:

Hikvision's Chairman is now a member of the same National Congress that Xi Jinping, China's Paramount leader is:

Note: I've updated the original report to show this evidence up front.

Does it really relate to what we do every day?

Let's look into every manufacturer instead of always pinging on the 'good ole boys' at Hikvision every other day.

Please, do some homework and dig up dirt on the Execs and Board of Directors at Axis, Hanwha, Arecont, Avigilon, and so on. It would be tremendously entertaining and would significantly help your statement. Even then if you found dirt, who is concerned about the Swedish, Canadian, or South Korean govts? When was the last time they put out any aggressive statements about the US, on the same level we've seen from China, that wasn't just a rebuttal to another impulse statement from our Commander in Tweets? 

Does it really relate to what we do every day?

Good question, thanks for asking. It relates in 2 very important ways:

(1) Economics: The reason why Hikvision can sell at such low prices plus such heavy sales and marketing expenditure is that they are owned by a government that erects barriers against foreign competitors. When an integrator like yourself complains why other manufacturers can't give you the deal that Hikvision gives you, that is the reason.

(2) National security: If you are integrator serves US or EU government facilities, you know that products are you are providing are made by a division of a foreign government adversarial to your own and whose chairman is a member of that government.

Just how much is it going to take to wake up the American, for that matter, world markets.  Such a short-sighted view focused on short-term profits & fleeting success is going to be the unraveling of our way of life.

This didn't start with Hikvision.  Their success has been built on the mandatory compromises and technology that has been shared for decades by U.S. & world companies eager to tap into the emerging Chinese market.  It was a smart move by the Chinese with a long-term vision.  And unfortunately, I believe that our instant gratification-based Western society will likely suffer in the long run.

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