Washington (June 5, 2019) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) today called on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to explain the State Department’s strategy for countering China’s export of surveillance technologies and practices to other countries. Senator Markey’s query follows disturbing reports from Human Rights Watch and the New York Times regarding high-tech repression of minorities in China and the spread of Chinese-made intelligent monitoring systems and facial recognition technology to governments with troubling human rights records. In a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing today, Senator Markey warned that while the United States should examine Beijing’s potential exploitation of telecommunications infrastructure through the activities of Huawei and other Chinese firms, singular focus on that issue overlooks the challenges posed by China’s exports of capabilities and techniques explicitly aimed at video, internet, and financial surveillance.
“The spread of sophisticated and authoritarian mass surveillance within China in itself is problematic, but its export to other governments poses a worldwide threat of repression,” writes Senator Markey in the letter. “It is clear that China is enabling authoritarianism even where foreign leaders are uninspired by the ideology of the Chinese Communist Party. Beijing is actively exporting methods of control that any authoritarian can implement, eroding freedom in every recipient country and undermining an international order built on open societies.”
A copy of the letter can be found HERE.
Senator Markey, the top Democrat on the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy, is co-author with Senator Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) of the Asia Reassurance Initiative Act, legislation that serves as a generational policy framework to enhance U.S. leadership in the Indo-Pacific region and to demonstrate a commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific and the rules-based international order.