Hikvision Chairman Targeted For Sanctions As Federal Watchdog Calls Out Hikvision "Serious Religious Freedom Violations"

By Charles Rollet, Published May 21, 2020, 07:12am EDT (Info+)

The US government's religious freedom watchdog has criticized Hikvision for being "credibly implicated in serious religious freedom violations". Meanwhile, three US Congressmen have requested Hikvision chairman Chen Zongnian be sanctioned over Hikvision's "complicity in human rights abuses" in Xinjiang.

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These latest developments show continued scrutiny over Hikvision's extensive Xinjiang sales, despite already being sanctioned by the US government over this last October.

In this note, we examine this news, how likely it is, and the potential impact on Hikvision, including:

  • Hikvision Chairman Targeted In Letter
  • Chen Zongnian Background
  • No Response Yet, Dahua Not Targeted
  • Magnistky Sanctions Impact
  • Likelihood Of Chen Getting Sanctioned
  • USCIRF Criticizes Hikvision "Serious Religious Freedom Violations"
  • USCIRF Background
  • Hikvision's Religious Freedom Violations Listed
  • Hikvision Response

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Chen ******** **********

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Comments (6)

I wonder how much of Hikvision's business in that area is voluntary. Given that the PRC establishes concentration camps, "disappears" troublemakers, and owns stock in Hikvision, it makes me wonder just how much Hikvision (or any of the Chinese camera manufacturers for that matter) can say "no" to a project or order.

Genuine question. Not trying to make excuses for them.

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#1, similar questions were raised about Dahua's nearly billion dollar Xinjiang deals. The reality is there are enough large PRC companies (also Huawei, China Telecom, etc.) that if any of the individual, even mega players, said no, that there rivals would take it. So, no, Hikvision is not forced.

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Your comment would be right for a company residing there and under influence of a government. Here they actually ARE the government, because it owns 100% of the company and have one of their members at its head. It is actually a national company, in the strong sense of the term. So, apart from the actual human right abuse issue that we can't deny, it's also a political matter, probably linked to a commercial and political war between the US and the PRC.

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because it owns 100% of the company

That is not true. The PRC government owns ~41% of Hikvision and is declared by Hikvision to be their controlling shareholder.

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Yes, my bad, misread with Cethik, does not change anything however with regard to actual control of the company I'm afraid.

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UPDATE: the US has sanctioned several Chinese officials over Xinjiang, however, Chen Zongnian is not one of them. Those sanctioned are:

  • Chen Quanguo, Communist Party Secretary of Xinjiang
  • Zhu Hailun, former Deputy Party Secretary of Xinjiang
  • Wang Mingshan, current Director and Communist Party Secretary of the Xinjiang Public Security Bureau (police)
  • Huo Liujun, former Party Secretary of the XPSB

Additionally, the Xinjiang Public Security Bureau as a whole was sanctioned as well. This means US persons (companies and individuals) basically cannot transact in any way with the XPSB and those individuals sanctioned.

The stated reason for the sanctions is the state's detention and surveillance of Uyghurs, including:

implementing a comprehensive surveillance, detention, and indoctrination program in Xinjiang

large-scale construction of mass detention camps, labelled “training centers,”

the XPSB has deployed the “Integrated Joint Operations Platform” (IJOP), an Artificial Intelligence (AI)-assisted computer system that created biometric records for millions of Uyghurs in the Xinjiang region

Keep in mind that this move doesn't mean Chen Zongnian will never be sanctioned - that remains a possibility.

The Congress members who requested Chen Zongnian be sanctioned have not yet received a response from Treasury.

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