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Tuesday, September 28, 2021

‘We do not develop our technology to target any race’, Huawei responds, but questions remain unanswered

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Huawei denies recent accusations that it’s been helping monitor and track China’s oppressed Uighur minority in an official statement to Mohammed Saadoon Al Kuwari.

After prominent Qatari media personality and Huawei ambassador Mohammed Saadon Al Kuwari called on the Chinese tech giant to clarify its position regarding accusations that its products are being used to help China’s government target and oppress its Muslim Uighur community, the company issued a statement late on Sunday. 

“We do not develop our technology to target any race,” the statement read.

Last week, The Washington Post reported that Huawei has been testing facial recognition software that would trigger alerts whenever the technology detected Uighur Muslims. The Post cited an internal document from inside Huawei obtained by researcher IPVM

 

The report sparked an international backlash, with human rights organisations accusing the company of helping the Chinese government track and target the Uighur minority which has been persecuted for years. Millions of Uighur Muslims have been forcibly transferred into what human rights groups have described as concentration labour camps. China calls them behavioural education centres. But the reality is that those imprisoned in them are forced to shed their faith, accept the government’s enforced ideology and produce and manufacture products that are then sold around the world. 

China’s Foreign Ministry denied the report, calling it, “pure slander” in a fax to CNBC, euronews reported. 

Read more: Prominent media figure Al Kuwari calls on Huawei to clarify Uighur surveillance accusations.

Al Kuwari, who is an ambassador for Huawei and has been the face of several of its recent marketing campaigns in Qatar and the Middle East, posted on Saturday that he had reached out to the company seeking clarification, following several messages from his friends and supporters regarding the accusations. 

“I have reached out to the company for more clarification on the matter and I expressed to them that I want an official and a clear response so that I may be able to clarify to my audience what my stance will be,” Al Kuwari said in a statement he issued on all his social media platforms. 

Responding to the beIN SPORTS presenter, Huawei denied the accusations, saying that they believe that technology should be used for the greater good and not to target any minority.

“We do not by any means stand by the use of our technology to discriminate or oppress anyone based on their race,” the statement read. 

However, given the gravity of the accusations leveled against Huawei, the company also said it will investigate the claims and work on improving its internal management and procedures. 

“We take the accusations very seriously and we are currently investigating the issue in all its aspects.”


Noteworthy is that not once in the Huawei statement did it mention the Uighurs or even refer to them, instead choosing to use generic terms of reference, leaving questions unanswered.

 

Although Al Kuwari shared the company’s response on all his social media accounts, he fell short of clarifying how he will move forward, whether or not he felt their response was satisfactory or if he will continue his collaboration with the Chinese mobile manufacturer. i
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