According to leaked documents obtained by The Washington Post, Huawei was involved in building surveillance systems used in the Xinjiang region (where the minority Uighur Muslims live) and technology used for reeducation and labor camps. The documents suggest that the Chinese tech giant is involved in the persecution of ethnic minorities.
The Post said that it got the documents, Powerpoint presentations, from a public Huawei website. The documents have since been removed.
The Post’s report claims that the slides had data dating back to 2014 and the copyright dates were from 2016 to 2018.
In one of the slides, Huawei’s tech is described as “the foundation of the smart prisons unified platform.” The slide also refers to analysis of reeducation efficiency and labor for manufacturing.
The Post claimed that some of the prisons where Huawei’s products were used were in the Xinjiang region.
Beijing continues to be accused of carrying out atrocities against the Uyghurs, putting them in detention and re-education and labor camps; multiple big companies in the US have been linked to the forced labor.
Another slide provides details of a surveillance system that was used in Xinjiang. It explains how law enforcement in Xinjiang’s capital Ürümqi used Huawei’s facial recognition system to catch a fugitive. A report from 2020 about video surveillance provided details on Huawei’s facial recognition system that can identify Uyghurs and send an alert.
The slides, however, do not mention Uyghurs. Huawei denied directly supplying technology to the Xinjiang region.
Huawei has attracted the attention of the US government in recent times for being linked to the authoritarian Chinese government, which does not shy away from mass surveillance. During Trump’s era, plans to use Huawei to launch 5G were shelved, and, in February 2020, the government advised US telecoms to stop using Huawei products because they allegedly contain backdoors that can be exploited by China.