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Press Releases

Firm Romney Founded Is Tied to Chinese Surveillance
Date: 3/16/2012
Written By: New York Times - By Andrew Jacobs and Penn Bullock

Excerpt: As the Chinese government forges ahead on a multibillion-dollar effort to blanket the country with surveillance cameras, one American company stands to profit: Bain Capital, the private equity firm founded by Mitt Romney. Chinese cities are installing surveillance systems with hundreds of thousands of cameras like these at a Beijing building site. In December, a Bain-run fund in which a Romney family blind trust has holdings purchased the video surveillance division of a Chinese company that claims to be the largest supplier to the government’s Safe Cities program, a highly advanced monitoring system that allows the authorities to watch over university campuses, hospitals, mosques and movie theaters from centralized command posts. The Bain-owned company, Uniview Technologies, produces what it calls “infrared antiriot” cameras and software that enable police officials in different jurisdictions to share images in real time through the Internet. Previous projects have included an emergency command center in Tibet that “provides a solid foundation for the maintenance of social stability and the protection of people’s peaceful life,” according to Uniview’s Web site. Such surveillance systems are often used to combat crime and the manufacturer has no control over whether they are used for other purposes. But human rights advocates say in China they are also used to intimidate and monitor political and religious dissidents. “There are video cameras all over our monastery, and their only purpose is to make us feel fear,” said Loksag, a Tibetan Buddhist monk in Gansu Province. He said the cameras helped the authorities identify and detain nearly 200 monks who participated in a protest at his monastery in 2008. … William A. Reinsch, president of the National Foreign Trade Council in Washington, said it was up to the American government, not individual companies, to set the guidelines for such business ventures. “A lot of the stuff we’re talking about is truly dual use,” said Mr. Reinsch, a former Commerce Department official in the Clinton administration. “You can sell it to a local police force that will use it to track down speeders, but you can also sell it to a ministry of state security that will use it to monitor dissidents.”;&scp=1&%2359;s%20Bain%20tied%20to%20Chinese%20surveillance