U.S. firms helping Chinese surveillance

Dec. 28, 2007 at 12:46 PM

NEW YORK, Dec. 28 (UPI) -- U.S. firms helping China with one of the world's most advanced public surveillance systems are violating the spirit of human-rights sanctions, critics say.

Honeywell, General Electric, United Technologies and IBM are working with China to design and install a public surveillance system in preparation for the summer 2008 Beijing Olympics and other events, The New York Times said.

Following the 1989 killings of activists at China's Tiananmen Square, however, the United States barred U.S. firms from providing China with "crime control or detection instruments or equipment," the Times said.

The companies' participation "violates the spirit of the Tiananmen legislation," James Mulvenon, director of the Center for Intelligence Research and Analysis, a government contractor that analyzes intelligence programs, told the Times.

U.S. Rep. Tom Lantos, D-Calif., chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told the Times that participating U.S. firms "obviously don't know the meaning of decency if they're seeking out ways to wriggle through the loopholes in our laws to capitalize on the market opportunities presented by the Olympics."

The Times said companies were reluctant to discuss the security-related sales but have complied with relevant laws.

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