Two Australian universities are currently in shock due to the recent explosive Four Corners documentary which was aired on ABC TV on Monday, which blamed them of being linked to the technology employed by the Chinese government in its human rights abuses of the Uighur minority in Xinjiang.
The state-owned China Electronics Technology company, which manufactures military surveillance technology alleged to be used to track & detain Uighurs, & the University of Technology Sydney were revealed to having a partnership of $10M by the documentary.
Firstly, the Human Rights Watch raised the issue of China Electronics Technology Company’s technology being employed for the abuses of human rights in Xinjiang. It wrote to the chairman of the firm in February 2019 to ask whether the firm is aware of how its technology is being employed by authorities in the troubled province.
The University of Technology Sydney made an announcement via a statement on its website for a review of its partnership with China Electronics Technology Company, inclusive of the contract terms & the nature of work performed under the alliance to date. It stated that the review was initiated quietly in April when it first became aware of Human Rights Watch’s concerns.
The university also clarified that it has submitted several China Electronics Technology Company partnership projects to the Australian Department of Defense for approval and stated that not all of its projects with CETC are controversial like its work on developing algorithms for an indoor robot for use in warehouses and offices.
The statement added that China has a majority of the world’s most well-known researchers in the fields of artificial intelligence, technology, robotics & big data, who collaborate with leading universities across the globe, including in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia.