The International Campaign for Tibet has called upon German company Bosch to release information about the products it was selling at a major surveillance and security fair, China International Exhibition on Public Safety and Security, in Beijing from October 28 to 31. In a letter to Bosch sent on October 27, 2014, the International Campaign for Tibet asked Bosch CEO Volkmar Denner whether they made a Human Rights Impact Assessment prior to the decision to participate in the Fair. So far ICT has not received a reply.
Kai Mueller, Executive Director of the International Campaign for Tibet in Germany, said: “The Chinese Communist Party-state seeks to cover up its repression and has deepened surveillance in order to maintain its authoritarian rule, but a German company should not be complicit. There has to be a red line. Bosch should not be endorsing the ethos of this event in Beijing, which is not in line with its corporate guidelines.”
Bosch’s participation in the Fair comes at a time when the Chinese government is cracking down on civil society and suppressing dissent. In order to assert the Chinese Communist Party’s dominance and control, the Beijing authorities have stepped up their attempts to crush dissent against one-Party rule and expand their attack on civil society. The Chinese authorities are using an aggressive ‘counter-terrorism’ drive to Tibet, as part of a larger effort taking place in Eastern Turkestan (Chinese: Xinjiang) and across China, to intensify militarization on the plateau and in an attempt to legitimize a harsher approach to peaceful Tibetan dissent.
Bosch sells surveillance and safety systems on the Chinese market. This year, the ‘China Security 2014’ event displays “urban-anti-terror” equipment, and is “supported” by the “Anti-Terrorism-Department” of the Ministry for Public Security.
This has led to a dramatic and costly expansion of the powers of China’s military and policing personnel that is increasingly regarded by progressive Chinese and the international community as a flawed tool of Chinese Communist Party control. Bosch has previously come under fire for provision of equipment for surveillance in prisons (ICT report, http://www.savetibet.org/bosch-germany-stop-shameful-sale-of-surveillance-technology-for-chinese-prisons/).
The provision of such equipment to an authoritarian Party-state which suppresses its own citizens counters the principles of corporate social responsibility outlined on Bosch’s website, which states: “Combining the pursuit of economic objectives with consideration for social and environmental factors is a priority at Bosch. We accept that our actions must accord with the interests of society. Above all else, we place our products and services in the interests of the safety of people, the economic use of resources, and environmental sustainability.”