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Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2007 08:56 am

Supporting Chinese repression

Lay some of the blame on U.S. corporations

Untitled Document aAmerica stands for freedom, right? President George W. Bush even claims that his military occupation of Iraq is about exporting freedom throughout the world. Yet, in China, U.S. high-tech corporations and investment bankers are enthusiastically exporting the very opposite of freedom: suppression. They are teaming up with the thuggish dictators in Beijing to establish an electronic police state there. U.S. firms are providing financing and surveillance technology to allow the regime to track, monitor, and tightly control the Chinese people — a “market” expected to top $43 billion. In the city of Shenzhen alone, 20,000 police surveillance cameras are being installed, guided by advanced computer software with face-recognition and behavior-detection technologies. The program is being implemented by China Public Security Technology. It’s a Chinese company, but it’s incorporated in Florida, getting financial backing from such U.S. investment funds as Pinnacle, Roth Capital, and Oppenheimer. The same consortium is implementing a new system of residency ID cards in Chinese cities. The mandatory cards bear computer chips that will divulge not just the name and address of the bearer but also his or her work history, religion, education, ethnicity, medical status, reproductive history, police record, landlord’s phone number, credit history, purchases made, and whatever else authorities decree. The head of the Chinese company says, “We have a very good relationship with U.S. companies like IBM, Cisco, HP [and] Dell. All of [them] work with us to build our system together.”
While Bush preaches global freedom, U.S. corporations practice the business of global suppression. Asked about this hypocrisy, Bush’s spokesman said, “It’s not appropriate to interfere in the private decisions of Americans to invest in legally incorporated firms.” Apparently ethics stop when profit walks in.
Jim Hightower is a national radio commentator, columnist, and author.
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