Your taxes go from your pocket, to the government, to Hikvision and potentially on to the Chinese government.
Research conducted by Free Tibet and Big Brother Watch has found that at least 275 UK councils, in every part of the nation, are using CCTV cameras manufactured by Hikvision, a Chinese state-owned company that has been linked to human rights abuses against Tibetans and Uyghurs.
A series of Freedom of Information requests submitted by us and Big Brother Watch to every UK council resulted in hundreds admitting that they used Hikvision equipment despite its well-known links to oppression. This includes 19 of the 32 London boroughs and nearly every council in Scotland.
We’ve already had a number of victories against Hikvision with two government departments saying they will not buy any more Hikvision equipment. In addition, Edinburgh Council and the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, which is the Chinese government’s preferred location for its new British embassy, have both ruled out using Hikvision on human rights grounds. Tower Hamlets is also considering a plan to rename streets around the new embassy in honour of victims of Chinese government oppression. These bans, and our protests with other groups which have stopped or disrupted Hikvision’s marketing in the UK, have led to a 10% drop in Hikvision’s UK profits.
Hikvision is one of several companies that have been implicated in supporting the creation of a surveillance state in Tibet, leading to the country being labelled the least free place in the world by Freedom House. In addition, it is involved in what several countries now call the genocide of the Uyghur people in the area governed as Xinjiang. Hikvision has been revealed to have significant security flaws that could allow images recorded in Scotland to be transmitted to China without consent and as a result, they are banned from use by the US government and the UK’s Ministry of Defence advises other departments against using them.
We’re already winning in our campaign to get Hikvision out of the UK but we need to go further. Free Tibet is calling on councils to stop using Hikvision and for the Foreign Secretary to ban them from the UK and stop funding Chinese government oppression. While security minister, Tom Tugendhat MP expressed support for banning Hikvision so we know victory is possible.