Human Rights Watch today called on Motorola Corp. to reassess its promotion and sale of communications equipment to the police in China. Motorola has actively pursued sales of two-way radios to Chinese authorities, including placing a prominent advertisement in a Chinese police magazine.
"The Chinese police have a history of repressive tactics, from the arbitrary arrest of peaceful activists to the beating of Falun Gong demonstrators," said Jan van der Made, Hong Kong-based researcher for Human Rights Watch. "Is this the kind of customer Motorola really wants to have?"
On several occasions last year, Motorola published a full-page advertisement in a Chinese police magazine, "People's Police" (Renmin Gong'an). The advertisement featured a picture of a large pair of handcuffs with the Chinese-language text, "[for] special use in the overall communications plan of the public security system," along with information about two-way radio systems sold by Motorola in Beijing. Motorola also exhibited its products at the "Security China 2000" tradeshow, sponsored in part by the Chinese Ministry of Public Security, which was held in Beijing from November 8 to 11.
A Motorola official told Human Rights Watch that the advertisement in the police magazine was part of an advertising campaign that began last March and ran through November.
Human Rights Watch believes that companies should take human rights issues into consideration when contemplating business relations with security forces that have engaged in a consistent pattern of rights abuses. It urges that companies develop internal guidelines to assist in determining when sales are appropriate and regularly monitor compliance with the guidelines.