British authorities on Thursday ordered the country’s official departments to stop installing Chinese-made surveillance cameras in “sensitive sites”.
The move comes as the government seeks to oppose China and its companies more strongly over security concerns.
Last week, British authorities prevented a Chinese-owned company from acquiring a majority stake in Newport Waferfab, Britain’s largest semiconductor manufacturer.
Cameras made by two Chinese companies
According to the human rights group “Big Brother Watch”, most government organizations in Britain uses surveillance cameras manufactured by “Hikvision” or “Dahua”.
And in July, a group of 67 MPs and Lords urged London to ban the sale and use of surveillance equipment made by the two companies whose products are believed to be complicit in human rights abuses against the Uyghur minority in Xinjiang.
However, in its decision on Thursday, the government did not impose a blanket ban on the two companies.
But he urged not to use “visual surveillance systems” made by companies that are required by Chinese law to share information with the security services in Beijing.
The government has stressed that such cameras should not be connected to “core networks” in government departments and that ministries should take in consider replacing them rather than waiting for scheduled updates.
A government review concluded that “in light of the threat to the UK and the growing capabilities of these systems, more scrutiny is needed,” Secretary of State Oliver Dowden told Parliament.
“Therefore, departments have been instructed to stop using such equipment in sensitive sites,” he added, noting that they are “produced by companies subject to the National Intelligence Law of the People’s Republic of China.”
Video of the minister and his assistant
And after a Hikvision camera monitored, in June 2021, the then Minister of Health, Matt Hancock, kissing his assistant, in breaching restrictions imposed to contain Covid, UK ministries have taken the initiative to remove this company’s equipment from its premises.
The incident, caught on camera, forced the minister to resign.
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