Currently, China is using 9 satellites present in the orbit surrounding the Earth. All of these have been constructed by SSL, which is owned by Maxar Technologies or Boeing. According to Wall Street Journal’s report on Tuesday, these satellites have been financed via the investment firm called Carlyle Group, with the aim of boosting the capabilities of the Chinese government, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.
As per the findings of this report, the bandwidth offered by the satellites has been put to use for connecting Chinese soldiers present at the outposts of the Sea of South China, boosting propaganda broadcasts as well as helping the state police’s fight against protesters. As for the third and final case, the police force of China has utilized the satellite bandwidth for quelling protests in the locality of Xinjiang. This marks a region where the Chinese government has received sharp criticism for forcefully relocating Uighurs, who is an ethnic minority group of Muslims in this province. Nearly a million Uighurs have been relocated by the nation into camps of internment.
There are existing trade laws in the U.S., preventing American firms from the sale of satellites to China as well as Chinese companies. But, these trade laws suffer from a loophole as they fail to regulate the manner in which the satellite bandwidth is used once they start operations. This particular flaw in the laws has been reportedly exploited by China. They have rented services of the satellites built in America, rather than buying them.
In the statement issued by America’s State Department to WSJ, it has been clarified that the U.S. will strongly urge companies to move ahead with the implementation of stringent safeguards, so as to make sure that they commercials actions do not aid China’s abuse of human rights.