China sur­veil­lance firm se­cures UK deals

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Front Page - By Hasan Chowd­hury and James Cook

A CHINESE sur­veil­lance com­pany ac­cused of help­ing Beijing to spy on per­se­cuted Uighur Mus­lims has struck a string of new cam­era deals with Bri­tish coun­cils, help­ing it rake in mil­lions of pounds of rev­enue last year.

Py­ronix, the Sh­effield-based di­vi­sion of Hangzhou-head­quar­tered CCTV firm Hikvi­sion, in­creased its Bri­tish sales by £4.6m to £38m in 2019 ac­cord­ing to fil­ings at Com­pa­nies House.

Hikvi­sion bought Py­ronix in 2016 for £16m and the two com­pa­nies have since worked to­gether on video sur­veil­lance tech­nol­ogy.

Hikvi­sion is 42pc owned by the Com­mu­nist regime in China.

Its cam­eras have pre­vi­ously been ad­ver­tised to au­to­mat­i­cally iden­tify Uighurs. There are grow­ing re­ports of forced ster­il­i­sa­tion among the eth­nic mi­nor­ity group in the au­ton­o­mous re­gion of Xin­jiang, and the mass spread of po­lit­i­cal pris­ons. The UK Gov­ern­ment ac­cused China of gross hu­man rights abuses last week.

China’s am­bas­sador to the UK has de­nied ill-treat­ment of Uighurs.

A Hikvi­sion spokesman said: “Hikvi­sion takes all re­ports of hu­man rights very se­ri­ously and recog­nises our re­spon­si­bil­ity for pro­tect­ing peo­ple. We have been en­gag­ing with the UK and US gov­ern­ment to clar­ify mis­un­der­stand­ings about the com­pany and ad­dress their con­cerns.”

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