Former U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) has registered as a foreign agent for her decision to begin lobbying for the American subsidiary company of China’s partially state-owned Hikvision, a prominent surveillance firm blacklisted by the federal government.
The Commerce Department placed Hikvision on a trade blacklist in October 2019 for “repression, mass arbitrary detention and high-technology surveillance” of China’s Uyghurs and other Muslim minority groups.
The Guardian mentioned at the time how these trade restrictions attracted support from politicians on both sides of the aisle.
In April, a bipartisan group of US lawmakers urged the move against Chinese companies called “complicit in human rights abuses” and specifically cited Hikvision and Dahua.
The Daily Caller’s Chuck Ross further explains how Sen. Boxer came to provide Hikvision with “strategic counsel” despite its role facilitating Beijing’s construction of reported mass detention centers for China’s persecuted Muslim population.
Hikvision, in which the Chinese government holds a 42% stake, also produces many of the cameras used to monitor U.S. military bases, streets and homes, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal on Nov. 12, 2017.
Boxer’s work on the Hikvision account for Mercury could signal that the lobbying firm, which was founded by former Republican Rep. Vin Weber, wants to use a prominent Democrat for more of its government outreach.
Though Hikvision has been accused of being a tool of the repressive Chinese Community Party, Mercury hailed Boxer in an announcement of her hiring on Jan. 7, 2020, for crafting “policies to help improve our democracy” when she served in the Senate.
Boxer retired from the U.S. Senate in January 2017. Then-Sen. Kamala Harris was elected as her replacement.