Australia removes Chinese-made cameras from politicians’ offices

Now you see them, now you don’t. Australian authorities have started pulling Chinese-made surveillance cameras from politicians’ offices just days after it was revealed that some government buildings are being given the same treatment to ensure they are “completely secure”.

At least 913 Chinese-made security cameras have been installed in more than 250 Australian government buildings, including Defense Department facilities, according to figures released last week.

Australian Defense Minister Richard Marles told national broadcaster ABC that all such cameras inside his department’s buildings would be removed, saying it was to “ensure our facilities are completely secure”.

People walk past a security camera in Melbourne on February 9, 2023. – Australia’s Department of Defense will remove Chinese-made security cameras from its buildings to ensure they are “completely secure”, the government said on February 9 . (WILLIAM WEST/AFP via Getty Images)

Finance Department officials confirmed on Tuesday that they will follow suit, revealing that a further 65 closed-circuit television systems have been installed in offices used by Australian politicians.

While the department has gradually replaced the cameras as part of a broader security upgrade, at least 40 systems still need to be removed, the department said, adding that it will complete the task by April.

Canberra’s action follows the United States and Britain, which have taken steps to prevent government departments from installing Chinese-made cameras in sensitive locations.

Britain acted in November last year over fears that Chinese companies could be forced to share intelligence with Beijing’s security services, as reported by Breitbart News.

It has also been claimed that Chinese units can pick up sound with hidden microphones, with this capability being able to be activated remotely, according to the British government’s “snooping tsar”.

The US Department of Commerce says major manufacturers Hikvision and Dahua have been implicated in “high-tech surveillance” of the Uighur minority in the Xinjiang region.

The US banned imports of surveillance equipment made by the two companies last year after saying it posed “an unacceptable risk to national security”.

Hikvision said it was “categorically false” to paint the company as “a threat to national security”, reports AFP.

For its part, Beijing accused Australia of “misusing national power to discriminate against and suppress Chinese companies”.

“We hope that Australia will provide a fair, just and non-discriminatory environment for the normal operations of Chinese companies,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Mao Ning said.

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