This is not the first time a report has linked China to human rights violations against Uighur Muslims.
Rabat – A report claims that Chinese tech giant Huawei tested a facial recognition system that security services can use to detect Uighurs Muslims, a minority ethnic group living in the Uyghur Autonomous Region of Xinjiang, China.
IPVM, a US-based research company focused on video surveillance analysis, obtained documents allegedly showing that Huawei tested facial recognition software by Megvii, one of China’s biggest artificial intelligence companies, in its video cloud system in 2018.
The software can be used to detect members of the Uighur Muslim minority and alert police of them, according to the Washington Post’s analysis of the documents.
IPVM shared the data with the Washington Post this week, showing that Huawei’s hardware, including cameras and servers, is compatible with Megvii’s facial recognition system.
In a statement to CNBC, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs called the IPVM report “slander.”
“To use modern tech products and big data to improve social management is a general practice of the international community, including countries in America and Europe,” a spokesperson from the ministry said.
“Legal use of facial recognition in public areas in some parts of China is to improve social management, effectively prevent and attack criminal acts. China doesn’t go any further than countries in America and Europe,” the statement continued.
“The measures are not targeting any particular ethnic groups,” it added. “The measures strengthen social security, thus earning support from people of all ethnic groups.”
China has faced international scrutiny for its treatment of the Uighur Muslim minority for years.
Last year in November, leaked Communist party documents revealed China’s policy on detention camps for Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang.
The documents, which included a memo from 2017, shows China’s instruction to police officers on how to run the detention camps.
In the instructions, the Communist party chief in Xingang gave restrictive guidelines on student activities in the detention camps. The chief called for strict management and monitoring of student activists to prevent escapes during class, eating periods, toilet breaks, and bath time.
In the last three years, the Chinese government has been linked to the forced detention of thousands of Uighur Muslims.
The memo also claimed that China authorized total video surveillance of Uighur Muslims.
China has repeatedly denied all allegations of its persecution of Uighur Muslims, describing the detention camps as “voluntary.”
In June, the US condemned China’s involvement in “violations” against Uighurs.
“We call on the Chinese Communist Party to immediately end these horrific practices and ask all nations to join the United States in demanding an end to these dehumanizing abuses,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in June.
He described the violations against the Uighurs as “shocking” and “disturbing.”