Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-FL) sent a letter to congressional clerks on Tuesday alleging that the administrators appointed by Democrats are involved in pressuring a US company on behalf of a Chinese surveillance organization.
The letter claims that a huge Chinese spy firm involved in human rights abuses by the Chinese Communist Party is “bullying” an American company through the Clerk of the House of Representatives and the Secretary of the Senate.
Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Company is a Chinese firm, and it requested both congressional administrators to begin a formal investigation last year into IP Video Market Info Inc. (IPVM). This American company has revealed how the Chinese regime uses Hikvision to surveil the Uyghur minority population it has enslaved and forced to work in Chinese factories.
House Clerk Ann Berry and Senate Secretary Cheryl Johnson told IPVM last July that it was being investigated due to an anonymous tip that it had been involved in undisclosed lobbying activities. This month, it was revealed that the tip came from Hikvision, according to a report by Axios.
The revelation that Hikvision was the party that accused IPVM led to concerns that China had led the way in obtaining a US legislative investigation into the actions of a critic of the Chinese Communist Party. For its part, IPVM denies the allegations and says that they are political retaliation against its reporting.
Rubio and Tenney wrote that Hikvision is trying to subvert legal processes by attacking its critics through American firms doing its bidding. They reprimand the congressional administrators and warn them that they are working on behalf of a Chinese spy company.
The letter cautions the officers not to allow Congress’s “transparent and open system” to exploit Chinese firms that the US has previously sanctioned because of involvement in human rights violations. The Republican lawmakers went on to say that Hikvision’s efforts to use American officers to silence dissent will “likely be replicated by other malign entities.”
Hikvision told the administrators that IPVM might violate lobbying laws because it was trying to influence the government. IPVM maintains that its communications with government entities are informational and not designed to influence policy. The company also says that Hikvision is seeking revenge on it for a series of reports that expose how the Chinese government uses Hikvision’s equipment in human rights violations.