Barcelona’s World Cup-winning footballer Antoine Griezmann said Thursday he was ending his sponsorship contract with Huawei over reports the Chinese telecoms giant was involved in the surveillance of Uighur Muslims.
Frenchman Griezmann said on Instagram: “Following strong suspicions that Huawei has contributed to the development of a ‘Uighurs alert’ through the use of facial recognition software, I am immediately ending my partnership with the company.”
US-based surveillance research firm IPVM said in a report Tuesday that Huawei had been involved in testing facial recognition software in China that could send alerts to police when it recognised Uighur minorities’ faces.
China has come under intense international criticism over its policies in the resource-rich Xinjiang territory, where rights groups say as many as one million Uighurs and other mostly Muslim minorities have been held in internment camps.
China defends the camps as vocational training centres aimed at stamping out terrorism and improving employment opportunities.
Griezmann, a forward who was one of the leading members of the France team that won the 2018 World Cup in Russia, has been a Huawei brand ambassador since 2017.