Last week, senior U.S. officials warned their British counterparts that letting Chinese telecom giants like Huawei build next-generation 5G internet infrastructure would be “nothing short of madness” for national security. The comments follow a Council of the European Union (EU) conclusion that 5G must respect “core values of the EU such as human rights,” and must not expose European citizens to danger on account of the “legal and policy framework to which suppliers may be subject to in third countries.” Huawei fails these tests.
The EU has previously spoken out against China’s repression and mass detention of its minority Muslim population. Leaked classified documents from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) confirm the systemic human rights abuses occurring in Xinjiang Province. Yet Europe risks doing business with the same technology firms facilitating these abuses.
Across all of China, the CCP seeks to monitor its population through a social credit system. But within Xinjiang, Chinese authorities have built a system of unmatched surveillance and social control facilitated by facial recognition scans, voice biometric data, DNA collection, and artificial intelligence for racial profiling.
Annie Fixler is the deputy director of the Center on Cyber and Technology Innovation at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (@FDD), a Washington-based, nonpartisan research institute focusing on national security and foreign policy. Mikhael Smits is a research analyst at FDD’s Center on Military and Political Power. Follow them on Twitter @afixler and @mikhaelsmits