Former Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer of California has deregistered as a foreign agent after facing an intense backlash for becoming a strategic consultant for a China-based surveillance company.
On Friday, Boxer filed a short-form registration statement with the Department of Justice for her work for Hikvision USA, as legally required under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, the Daily Caller reported. She registered the work through the public relations firm Mercury Public Affairs, for which she has been a consultant since last year.
Hikvision USA is the American subsidiary of a company that allegedly assisted the Chinese government in helping track down Uighur Muslims and has been blacklisted by the U.S. government.
Many Uighur Muslims are in camps created by the Chinese Communist Party as part of a greater effort to persecute the religious population in the country.
Notably, Boxer revealed in the DOJ registration statement that she had donated $500 to the Inauguration Committee for President-elect Joe Biden, which has decided to return the money amid the controversy over her consulting work.
In an article Tuesday, Axios noted some of the issues surrounding the surveillance firm:
“• In 2019, the Trump administration barred Hikvision from doing business with American firms absent a U.S. government license, citing the parent company’s alleged involvement in the repression of Muslim minorities in the Chinese region of Xinjiang.
“• Last year it accused Hikvision of ties to the Chinese military and prohibited U.S. investment in the company.
“• The state-owned China Electronics Technology Group is Hikvision’s controlling stakeholder. Hikvision cameras have been installed at internment camps in Xinjiang, where more than 1 million Uighurs are estimated to have been imprisoned or subjected to forced labor.”
Boxer explained her decision to work on behalf of Hikvision USA in a statement emailed to the outlet.
“When I am asked to provide strategic advice to help a company operate in a more responsible and humane manner consistent with U.S. law in spirit and letter, it is an opportunity to make things better while helping protect and create American jobs,” said the Democrat, who represented California in the House and Senate for 34 years.
However, the 80-year-old announced Tuesday that she would deregister as a foreign agent and not serve as a consultant for the firm.
“Due to the intense response to my registration I have determined that my continued work has become a negative distraction from my effort to preserve American jobs and make the company better. Therefore I have deregistered,” Boxer said on Twitter.
Due to the intense response to my registration I have determined that my continued work has become a negative distraction from my effort to preserve
American jobs and make the company better. Therefore I have deregistered.
— Barbara Boxer (@BarbaraBoxer) January 12, 2021
Although the longtime senator reversed her decision under pressure, it should be of major concern that she would consider working for this firm in the first place.
An organization that is accused of being complicit in an operation that is considered genocide by human rights groups is not something to be taken lightly.
The @UyghurProject submitted a detailed report to the UN Committee on Economic, Social & Cultural Rights, ahead of China’s review, covering:
– Forced labor
– Forced sterilization
– Right to development
– Denial of cultural rights, right to educationhttps://t.co/9iGIzFT4kB
— Uyghur Human Rights Project (@UyghurProject) January 12, 2021
This incident should leave people asking why Hikvision USA is even allowed to operate in the United States in the first place.
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