PRESS RELEASE: World Uyghur Congress Concerned About Controversial ‘Smart Campus’ Project by Hikvision
On November 13, the research company Internet Protocol Video Market (IPVM) published information about the recent development of Hikvision, a prominent Chinese state-founded technology company, securing a $9 million contract for a ‘Smart Campus’ project in the People’s Republic of China, eliciting significant controversy and human rights concerns.
The project, designed for Minjiang University, includes surveillance features that alert administrators when “ethnic minority” students, particularly Muslims, are suspected of fasting during Ramadan. The comprehensive surveillance system tracks various aspects of students’ lives, ranging from dining records to holiday destinations and family information, prompting widespread concern about potential abuse and discrimination.
The World Uyghur Congress is severely concerned about the potential human rights violations this project could create, given the widespread abuses against Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslim peoples enabled by Hikvision technology. “Hikvision has since 2016 provided the Chinese government with mass surveillance technology to monitor Uyghurs, including inside concentration camps and in mosques. This new system will allow for the CCP to further crackdown on Muslim communities and help facilitate the Uyghur genocide”, said World Uyghur Congress President Dolkun Isa.
The WUC is thus joining other human rights groups and individuals who have strongly criticised the project, such as the Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP) and Nury Turkel, the former Commissioner and now Chair of The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), who expressed “significant concerns” regarding the ‘fasting month’ alerts, emphasising their potential impact on religious freedom.
Religious freedoms are systematically violated in East Turkistan, particularly affecting Uyghur Muslims. They have experienced extensive surveillance and restrictions on religious practices since 2016 with the ‘Strike Hard Campaign’, which prohibits and criminalises religious activities, such as fasting during Ramadan and wearing traditional attire. The situation is further exacerbated by the existence of concentration camps where Uyghur religious figures, including Imams have been sentenced for religious teachings and community leadership. Thus highlighting a broader pattern of suppression of religious expression in East Turkistan.
The World Uyghur Congress calls on the OIC members as well as the international community to condemn the religious persecution of the Uyghur and Turkic people of East Turkistan. We remind the OIC that Islamic values are universal and should be protected everywhere. The organisation should remain true to its commitment to being an advocate for the elimination of discrimination against Muslims in all forms and manifestations.