Claims that Xinjiang firms surveil certain ethnic groups ill-intentioned
Information technology companies in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region that have been sanctioned by the United States said on Friday that the accusations that their technologies are used in high technology surveillance against people from certain ethnic groups are groundless and ill-intentioned.
Jin Zhiqiang, president of Urumqi Tianyao Weiye Information Technology Service, said technologies developed by the company are only used to help build smart communities and improve the efficiency of social governance, and they have never targeted certain ethnic groups.
Tianyao Weiye is one of the six information technology companies in Xinjiang that was put on the Entity List by the US Department of Commerce”s Bureau of Industry and Security on July 12.
According to the department’s news release, it believes that those companies have enabled human rights violations and high technology surveillance against people from certain ethnic groups in Xinjiang, such as Uygurs and Kazaks. US companies are barred from trading with entities on the list.
“Using information and big data technologies in social governance has been a common practice around the world. Those technologies have boosted people’s sense of security and never targeted people from certain ethnic groups. The US sanctions only aim to curb the development of high technology companies in Xinjiang,” Jin said at an online news conference on Friday.
Xu Guixiang, a spokesman of the regional government, said at the news conference that the US has previously sanctioned Xinjiang’s cotton and photovoltaic industries after making up and spreading the “forced labor” claim.
“This time, the US has targeted Xinjiang’s information technology industry. Again, it has exposed its intention of promoting trade protectionism in the name of protecting human rights,” Xu said.
Wang Jineng, vice-president of Xinjiang Sailing Information Technology, said that the company was on the Entity List for accusations that can’t be supported, which is an irresponsible move.
The technologies developed by Sailing are used in the applications of smart cities, tourist sites and airports, which aim to make people’s lives more convenient. Also, their developments are in line with domestic and international trade standards and business ethics, Wang said.
“Our products have never been used in activities of human rights violations or high technology surveillance against people from certain ethnic groups. The US move has severely damaged the company’s reputation,” Wang added.
Liu Fei, a sales manager of Leon Technology, said he couldn’t understand the US decision to put the company on the Entity List.
“We’ve been providing information technologies to support digitalized public services needed by people from all ethnic groups in Xinjiang. How could that be categorized as activities of ‘human rights violations’? Such accusations are purely made up,” Liu said.
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