Australian Defense Minister Marise Payne said on the 9th that the government will examine the surveillance technology used in Defense Department offices. Reports say that cameras made in China installed in these offices have raised concerns about security risks. In response, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ma Neng responded on the same day that China opposes any wrong practice of generalizing national security concepts and abusing national forces to discriminate and suppress Chinese companies. He hoped that the Australian side would provide a fair, just and non-discriminatory environment for Chinese companies to operate normally, and do more to promote mutual trust and cooperation between the two sides.
Marise Payne told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in an interview on the 9th that the Australian Defense Department is assessing all surveillance equipment in its buildings and will “remove (Chinese-made) cameras” found. However, Marise also told local media in Australia that the Australian people should not respond too much to the risk of sensitive data being provided to Beijing. On the same day, Australian Prime Minister Arbarnis said he was not worried that removing Chinese-made cameras would worsen Australia-China relations. He said, “We act according to Australia’s national interests” and take “transparent” action and will “continue to do so”.
The Australian newspaper reported on the 9th that a review initiated by the Australian opposition party’s network security spokesman Patterson last year found that at least 913 cameras and other devices developed and manufactured by Chinese companies Hikvision and Dahua were installed at 250 locations. Patterson claimed that the Australian government and its personnel may be forced to provide 24-hour access to surveillance data to the Chinese government. The spokesman for Hikvision replied: “Our cameras comply with all applicable Australian laws and regulations and strict security requirements.”