The first victory of the mobilisation for the Uyghurs against Huawei: the Val-d’Oise Numérique (VONum) mixed syndicate has suspended its partnership with the Chinese company. The two parties had previously signed a contract for the development of the “smart department” concept within the Val d’Oise department (95). The idea, according to an article in the Chinese state press CGTN, was to “develop urban services for the population, based on digital technologies that have proved their worth in China”. In practice, this meant the installation of video surveillance cameras and intelligent sensors, digital training and the installation of 5G, among other things.
However, following pressure from the general public as well as calls from numerous elected officials, including the deputy Aurélien Taché (member of the Group of Solidarity with the Uyghur people in the French National Assembly) and the left-wing senator Rachid Temal, the department suspended the partnership in August 2020. For more information on this rupture, and on the history of Huawei’s presence in Europe, we recommend this accessible and comprehensive article (written in French).
Second victory: Antoine Griezmann, the French footballer, broke his contract with Huawei on Thursday 10 December 2020. An ambassador for the brand since 2017, he decided to end their collaboration after the revelation of Huawei’s involvement in the digital surveillance of Uyghurs, and its research into software that could provide “alerts to the presence of Uyghurs”.
The Barcelona striker posted the news on his Instagram account:
“Following strong suspicions that the Huawei company contributed to the development of a “Uyghur alert” through facial recognition software, I announce that I am immediately terminating my partnership linking me to this company.”
He also calls on the company in question “not to simply deny the accusations but to take concrete action as soon as possible to condemn this mass repression”, and to “use its influence to contribute to the respect of human and women’s rights within society”.