Sunday, April 27, 2008

Chinese Buy To Repress

At Trade Show, China’s Police Shop for the West’s Latest
KEITH BRADSHERNY TimesSaturday, April 26, 2008
BEIJING — For the Chinese police agency boss who thought he had everything, the police equipment trade show here was a chance to scrutinize the latest offerings from manufacturers around the world for secretly copying computer hard drives, suppressing riots or collecting video surveillance of public streets.
China’s crackdown in Tibet after violent protests there has set off strong criticism from human rights groups and confrontations in several countries between police officers and demonstrators during the Olympic torch relay. But here in China, the world’s fastest-growing market for security and crime-control equipment, it is business as usual between Western multinationals and Chinese police agencies.
At the recent China International Exhibition on Police Equipment here, sponsored by the Ministry of Public Security, DuPont had a large exhibit promoting Kevlar bulletproof fabric for riot police use. Motorola was selling police radio systems as well as wireless systems for transmitting vast quantities of video surveillance data.

And with the slogan “dress to kill” on their black T-shirts, top executives from Magnum of Britain showed off their latest police boots. “Chinese police deserve the best — Magnum protects the protectors,” said Paul Brooks, the company’s president, in a speech to police officials.
The most intriguing device offered at the show to senior Chinese security agency officials was the Image Masster RoadMasster, a powerful computer system that swiftly copies computer hard drives without leaving any trace and comes concealed in its own color-coordinated briefcase.
Gonen Ravid, the chief executive of the device’s manufacturer, Intelligent Computer Solutions in Chatsworth, Calif., said that the company sells exactly the same equipment in the same briefcases to the Pentagon for use in Iraq, and to the Central Intelligence Agency and other Western intelligence agencies for use around the world.
No company in China makes similar equipment, he said. “The U.S.,” he said, “is still leading with this.”

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