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Parliamentary questions
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4 February 2019
Question for written answer E-000631-19
to the Commission (Vice-President/High Representative)
Rule 130
Marlene Mizzi (S&D)

 Subject:  VP/HR — Facial recognition technology in China
 Answer in writing 

The Chinese Government is using facial recognition technology in a contravention of its citizens’ human rights. China has 170 million CCTVs in operation and is expected to install another 400 million. This surveillance network, combined with facial recognition, is being used to publicly shame citizens who violate laws and to track targeted individuals on a constant basis.

The targeting of these individuals is not just limited to wanted criminals. Facial recognition is projected to give the government access to information such as a person’s sexuality, religious affiliations and political views. In fact, this system is most likely to be abused to the detriment of ethnic minorities in China. Uighurs in the Xinjiang province, whom the government believes pose a separatist threat, face a high risk of being targeted for re-education camps through this system.

In view of the above:
1. What discussions has the EU had with China on the use of facial recognition technologies?
2. What assurances has the Chinese Government given the EU that the use of facial recognition systems will not be used to persecute minority communities and further diminish human rights in China?
3. With the ever increasing oppression of minority communities and human rights in China, what safeguard measures and sanctions is Europe considering in its trade and investment talks with the country?
Last updated: 19 February 2019Legal notice