A report found that Britons are surveilled by 277,986 networks of Hikvision and Dahua cameras, with the number of individual cameras likely to be much higher.
Surveillance cameras made by firms monitoring the movements of Britons in more than 275,000 separate networks have been identified at five Uighur internment camps in Xinjiang, The Mail on Sunday can reveal
London holds the largest number at 61,504, followed by Birmingham with 8,865, Manchester with 7,436 and Liverpool with 4,957, according to researchers at TOP10VPN.
Last week it emerged that the Government is using hundreds of Hikvision cameras across the Department for Health, Department for Work and Pensions, and Ministry of Justice.
This is despite a Freedom of Information request by the campaign group Free Tibet that uncovered official Ministry of Defence guidance warning ‘not to use / install Hikvision equipment’.
And last week the MoS revealed the Home Office had faced a security scare after discovering a CCTV unit in its London HQ manufactured by Dahua.
Authorities in the US fear the companies’ camera technology present a national security concern because of their links to the Chinese state, which the firms’ bosses strongly deny.
Both Hikvision and Dahua’s cameras and technology has been used in the repression of the Muslim minority Uighurs in China.
Conservative MP Alicia Kearns, of the China Research Group, said: ‘I have been calling for the UK government to ban Hikvision and Dahua cameras for months – not least stripping it from Government departments and local councils.
‘This is yet more evidence why we urgently need to rip this insidious technology from our country to protect our civil liberties.
‘It is unacceptable for even a penny of taxpayers’ money to go to an arm of the Chinese state, one actively facilitating the genocide of the Uighur people in Xinjiang.’
Earlier this month the Government brought its revised camera surveillance code before Parliament but failed to include a human rights clause blocking the purchase of equipment from firms linked to human rights abuses.
Fraser Sampson, England and Wales’s Biometric and Surveillance Camera Commissioner, said: ‘From what little they’ve said publicly it seems Hikvision would like to adopt a ‘fire and forget’ approach and disown any responsibility for what is done with their systems once they’ve designed and installed them.’
Hikvision supplies CCTV cameras to British schools, police forces, government departments, local councils, hospitals, care homes and private companies.
The Chinese government owns a controlling stake in Hikvision and smaller minority share of Dahua.
Hikvision declined to comment but a Dahua spokesman said: ‘We cannot confirm that the camera pictured is in fact a Dahua device and its specific purpose, as there are many look-alike cameras made by other manufacturers available on the market.
‘Regardless, we are not surprised, not should anyone else be surprised, to see an outward facing and traffic-monitoring security camera located on the perimeter of what appears to be a government facility.
‘One would expect to find cameras being widely used to help secure public and commercial facilities, reduce traffic congestions, improve industrial automation, as well as many other intelligent applications to help make the world safer and smarter.’