'Know the challenge': UK government's website warns tech firms over risks of China expansion & investment
The British government has launched a website that tells UK digital and tech businesses how to manage "risks" regarding receiving investment from China.
The website, featuring the slogan 'China. See the Potential. Know the Challenge,' was designed as a guide offering advice on the "legal, commercial and ethical risks when engaging with Chinese entities."
In the section dedicated to ethical issues, the website launched on Tuesday warns that "there is a risk that your company's technology could be used to violate human rights." The listed concerns include "China's use of facial recognition and predictive computer algorithms for mass surveillance, profiling and repression of ethnic minorities… automated internet and media surveillance and censorship."
The 'guide' also advises firms to take "legal steps to protect your IP in China" and "consider your cybersecurity," noting that London defends against "the targeted theft of UK knowledge assets and expertise."
Digital and culture minister, Caroline Dinenage, also said in a statement that London "is determined to support our businesses to engage with China in a way that reflects the UK's values and takes account of national security concerns."
The UK government had already blocked Chinese firm Huawei Technologies from parts of the UK's telecoms network. The move reflected UK concerns about "spying," with Huawei saying they were groundless.
The UK Parliament's defence committee claimed earlier that Huawei had "colluded" with the Chinese state, prompting Beijing's Foreign Ministry in October to say that the interests of Chinese companies were being damaged. Huawei has firmly denied spying allegations.
"China has no laws that require companies to install 'back doors' or collect foreign intelligence," the ministry's spokesperson Hua Chunying said at the time. "The openness and fairness of the UK market and the security of foreign investment in the UK are of great concern," the spokesperson stressed.
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