Shortly after it was revealed that former Democrat Senator Barbara Boxer of California had registered as a Foreign Agent for the U.S. subsidiary of China’s surveillance firm Hikvision, Team Biden distanced itself from Boxer. The ex-senator worked with Biden in the Senate for more than two decades and praised him during the 2020 presidential campaign.
She had donated $500 to Joe Biden’s inaugural committee in late December, but that contribution is reportedly being returned to Boxer.
Boxer served in the Senate from 1993 to 2017 and had been on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. According to documents filed with the Justice Department by Mercury Public Affairs on Friday, Boxer, who co-chairs the firm’s Los Angeles office, was to provide “strategic consulting services” to the Chinese surveillance firm Hikvision’s U.S. subsidiary.
Adding Boxer to their team appears to show that Mercury is now beefing up its Hikvision advocacy effort to better influence the incoming Biden administration.
However, the company is accused of being an integral part of China’s draconian digital surveillance state which I have described here, but most concerning is it is directly abetting the country’s mass internment of Uighur Muslims in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in Northwest China.
Hikvision cameras have reportedly been installed at internment camps in Xinjiang, where more than one million Uighurs are estimated to have been imprisoned or subjected to forced labor.
According to Fox News, “Hikvison is reportedly the world’s leading surveillance equipment supplier and signed a $272 million contract with Xinjiang police between 2016-2017, per a report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies [CSIS].”
As noted by Axios, the Trump administration barred Hikvision from doing business with American firms without a U.S. government license in 2019 for these reasons. In 2020 it accused Hikvision of ties to the Chinese military and prohibited U.S. investment in the company.
On Tuesday, after Team Biden announced it was returning her donation, Boxer ‘deregistered’ as a Foreign agent for the company. In a tweet, Boxer said, “Due to the intense response to my registration I have determined that my continued work has become a negative distraction from my effort to preserve American jobs and make the company better. Therefore, I have deregistered.”
Unfortunately, Boxer isn’t the only ex-U.S. Senator assigned to Mercury’s Hikvision account, the other is David Vitter, a Republican who represented Louisiana until 2017. This should remind us that the Washington revolving door and effort to aid Communist China is often a bipartisan affair.