Footballer Griezmann ends relations with Huawei over ‘surveillance’ of Uighur Muslims

World cup winning footballer Antoine Griezmann ended sponsorship contract with tech giant Huawei over reports of it being involved in the surveillance of Uighur Muslims. 

Griezmann took to Instagram to announce the end of his partnership with Huawei on suspicion that the company is using facial recognition software to send ‘Uighurs alert’. 

“The Chinese tech giant Huawei has tested facial recognition software that could send automated “Uighur alarms” to government authorities when its camera systems identify members of the oppressed minority group, according to an internal document that provides further details about China’s artificial-intelligence surveillance regime,” said a report published in The Washington Post. 

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Responding to Griezmann’s public renunciation of his ties to Huawei, a spokesperson for the telecom’s company told the BBC “We would like to extend an invitation to speak to him personally, to explain the work that is currently being done at the highest level, inside the company, to address the issues of human rights, equality, and discrimination at all levels.”

“Our technologies are not designed to identify ethnic groups,” the spokesperson further said. “Non-discrimination is at the heart of our values as a company.”

China has come under intense international criticism over its policies in Xinjiang. According to Rights groups, one million Uighurs and other Muslim minorities have been held in internment camps. China defends these camps as vocational training centres to end terrorism and improve employment opportunities. 

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Griezmann has been working with Huawei since 2017 and has been part of a giant advertising campaign for the company in France. 

This isn’t the first time that the player has voiced out his opinion against injustice. Even earlier he had expressed concern over a video of policemen beating up a music producer.  On Wednesday, the Paris Saint-Germain team containing Griezmann’s World Cup teammate Kylian Mbappe walked off the pitch with their opponents from Istanbul Basaksehir in protest over the alleged racist language used by a match official in a Champions League game.

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