Did American companies violate U.S. law by selling hi-tech police equipment to the Chinese? The Old Gray Lady asks this today, examining a recent Chinese police equipment trade show held in Beijing where several American companies, including Motorola and DuPont, were notably present. (An old law going back to Tiananmen Square prevents American companies from selling police equipment to China.) On display: Kevlar bulletproof vests, advanced police radio systems, fancy protective boots and a device that “swiftly” copies the entire contents of a hard drive without leaving any trace of having done so. That one’s developed by Intelligent Computer Solutions, which is based in California.
This all comes just a few weeks after China’s crackdown on Tibet protesters, never mind the controversy surrounding the Olympic Torch relay.
Of course, all companies deny any wrongdoing, stressing that they haven’t broken any laws. Be that as it may, I wonder if it’s worth sullying a company’s image just to make a few dollars from the Chinese. Not trying to pull a Jack Cafferty or anything, but selling American-developed technology to be used by Chinese authorities, that doesn’t seem like it’d be too popular with Joe Sixpack.