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JFM Calls for Action Against Chinese and Myanmar Companies Involved in Junta Digital Surveillance and Censorship

June 19th, 2024  •  Author:   Justice For Myanmar  •  3 minute read
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The illegal Myanmar military junta has accessed Chinese equipment, technology and support in its efforts to spy on Myanmar internet users and to censor the internet as it speeds up efforts to build a digital dictatorship.

A Justice For Myanmar investigation based on sources including leaked documents and corporate records has exposed the involvement of two Chinese companies in the junta’s digital surveillance and censorship program.

Planning documents show the use of two products from the Chinese company Geedge Networks, which trades as Jizhi (Hainan) Information Technology Company Limited, in the surveillance and censorship system that was activated in Myanmar at the end of May.

Geedge Networks founder and chief scientist is Fang Binxing, the “father” of the Great Firewall of China.

One product, Taingou Secure Gateway (TSG), uses deep pack inspection and claims to be able to decrypt and inspect traffic between the server and client that is encrypted with secure sockets layer (SSL) and transport layer security (TLS) encryption protocols.

TSG also features a firewall that can block applications, including virtual private networks (VPNs), based on their behaviours and attributes.

Cyber Narrator, also from Geedge Networks, is a network intelligence platform designed to monitor and analyse internet traffic and respond to “threats”, including the use of VPNs.

In addition, the Chinese state-owned company China National Electronics Import and Export Corporation (CEIEC), also linked to Fang Binxing, has been involved in a proposed location tracking system for the junta controlled communications ministry.

Both companies business with the junta is brokered by the crony Mascots Group of Companies, led by Dr Win Kyaw and his wife Khin Kay Khaing, who are part of a network of at least 30 companies across Myanmar, Singapore and Thailand, more than half of which were named by the UN Special Rapporteur on Myanmar.

Justice For Myanmar calls on governments to urgently impose sanctions against Geedge Networks, CEIEC and Mascots Group, its directors and related companies.

Governments must block companies and individuals in their territory from providing the illegal junta with arms, equipment, technology, technical support and jet fuel.

Justice For Myanmar spokesperson Yadanar Maung says: “Chinese companies and their Myanmar crony partners are providing the illegal junta with surveillance and censorship technology that will cost lives.

“The junta is a terrorist organisation under Myanmar law and definitions in international law that is waging a campaign of terror against the people with total impunity.

“The junta is killing, torturing and arbitrarily detaining people across Myanmar and this new Chinese technology will further aid and abet the junta’s crimes against humanity as it seeks to track down those who oppose the military’s illegitimate coup attempt.

“Geedge Networks’ censorship system is further violating the Myanmar people’s right to free expression and is part of the junta’s war on independent sources of information.

“Governments must take urgent action against the complicity of foreign and Myanmar companies in the junta’s international crimes, including through targeted sanctions.”

More information:

Read the full investigation into the Myanmar junta’s partners in internet surveillance and censorship

Download the press release in English | Burmese

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