The U.K. Cabinet Office has told central government departments to stop installing Chinese-made surveillance systems on "sensitive sites," citing security risks, Financial Times reported.
Cabinet Office minister Oliver Dowden said it would cover visual surveillance equipment "produced by companies subject to the National Intelligence Law of the People's Republic of China."
A security review found that "in light of the threat to the U.K. and the increasing capability and connectivity of these systems, additional controls are required."
The move comes just after Rishi Sunak, prime minister, said China posed a "systemic challenge" to the U.K. and called it "undoubtedly the biggest state-based threat to our economic security."
It also comes months after the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) decided to stop purchasing cameras from Hikvision, the world's largest surveillance camera provider.
In 2019, the U.S. placed multiple Chinese artificial intelligence surveillance companies, including video-camera makers Hikvision and Dahua, on its trade blacklist for aiding the "repression, mass arbitrary detention and high-technology surveillance" of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in China's northwestern region of Xinjiang.
The European Parliament last year removed the Hikvision thermal cameras used to monitor visitors for fever.
This year, a broad coalition of 67 members of the U.K. parliament called for a ban on all U.K. sales of Dahua and Hikvision equipment on ethical grounds, citing the companies' involvement in Xinjiang.
Dutch trade minister Liesje Schreinemacher said the Netherlands is in talks with the U.S. government about new export restrictions for semiconductor equipment to China, Reuters reports.
Under pressure from the U.S., the Dutch government has since 2018 prohibited semiconductor equipment maker ASML Holdings NV (NASDAQ: ASML) licenses to ship its most advanced machines to China, fearing their "dual use" with potential military applications.
Photo: Body Stock and Dragon Claws by Shutterstock
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