Ex-Democratic Sen. Boxer registers to lobby for Chinese firm blacklisted for surveillance of Muslims

"Senator Boxer is a force who has earned respect ... around the world," says employer Mercury Public Affairs, a lobbying firm.

Published: January 12, 2021 2:20pm

Updated: January 12, 2021 4:47pm

Former California Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer has registered as a foreign agent for an American subsidiary of a Chinese company blacklisted by the U.S. government for conducting surveillance of Muslim Uyghurs in China's Xinjiang province.

Boxer, who spent nearly 25 years in Congress before leaving the Senate in 2017, has joined Hikvision USA, The Daily Caller reported Tuesday.

The 80-year-old Boxer has registered to work through Mercury Public Affairs, a lobbying firm she joined early this year as a consultant.

Boxer's registration form, filed through the Justice Department under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, says she will be "providing strategic counsel" to Hikvision, which produces surveillance equipment for the Chinese government and Chinese military, the Daily Caller also reported.

In October 2019, the Commerce Department added 28 Chinese firms — including Hikvision — to a trade blacklist, saying they have abused Muslim minorities in China's northwestern Xinjiang region.

Mercury praised Boxer when she was brought aboard. 

"Senator Boxer is a force who has earned respect from both sides of the aisle nationally among her colleagues in the House and Senate and also around the world as a dedicated public servant and model for female leadership in the political sphere," said Mercury Chief Executive Officer Kieran Mahoney. "Her depth of experience is unparalleled, and we are pleased that the Senator has chosen to join our team."

Meanwhile, Axios reported that President-elect Joe Biden's inaugural committee will refund a donation from Boxer as word spread of her new gig.

"Boxer's contribution was just $500, but the Biden team's decision to return the money shows how the incoming administration will try to balance its sweeping ethics commitments with K Street efforts to enlist high-profile Democrats with an eye towards advancing clients' interests in Biden's Washington," the Washington, D.C., website said.

The site added that "Hikvision cameras have been installed at internment camps in Xinjiang, where more than a million Uighurs are estimated to have been imprisoned or subjected to forced labor."

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