MOEA to investigate US-blacklisted China tech

Economics Minister Sheng Jong-chin said Monday that he would order an investigation into the U.S.-blacklisted Chinese tech company that won the tender for a facial recognition security system at Taichung Power Plant. (NOWnews)

TAIPEI (CNA) — Economics Minister Sheng Jong-chin (沈榮津) said Monday that he would order an investigation into the U.S.-blacklisted Chinese tech company that won the tender for a facial recognition security system at Taichung Power Plant, following questioning by a legislator.

At a hearing of the Legislative Yuan’s Economic Committee Monday, legislator Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明) of the New Power Party asked Shen whether using a system designed by Megvii Technology at the plant raised national security concerns.

Megvii Technology won the tender to install a facial recognition security system at Taichung Power Plant on Sept. 12, but was recently included on a list of 28 additional Chinese entities blacklisted by the U.S. over human rights violations in China’s Xinjiang region.

In reply, Shen said he would ask the Ministry of Economic Affairs’ (MOEA) State-Owned Enterprise Commission to launch a comprehensive examination of the black-listed companies, and instruct the ministry’s Information Management Center to review the matter.

When interviewed by the press, Shen said the system is used to monitor contractors entering and leaving the power plant and employees of the state-run Taiwan Power Company (Taipower) are not included in the system.

The U.S. Commerce Department announced on Oct. 7 that it was blacklisting 28 entities, including the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR) People’s Government Public Security Bureau, 18 of its subordinate security bureaus and one other subordinate institute, and eight additional companies for being implicated in human rights violations and abuses in China’s Xinjiang region.

In a statement, the department said the entities were implicated “in the implementation of China’s campaign of repression, mass arbitrary detention, and high-technology surveillance against Uighurs, Kazakhs, and other members of Muslim minority groups” in Xinjiang.

The eight companies blacklisted are Hikvision Digital Technology Dahua Technology, iFlytek, Megvii Technology, Sense Time, Xiamen Meiya Pico Information, Yixin Science and Technology and Yitu Technologies.

By Liao Yu-yang and Chiang Yi-ching