Joe Biden’s inaugural committee has returned a donation from former senator Barbara Boxer, a California Democrat who registered as a foreign agent for Chinese surveillance firm Hikvision, Axios reported on Tuesday.
The Trump administration alleged in June that Hikivision is owned or controlled by the Chinese military. The Commerce Department blacklisted Hikivision in 2019 for its alleged involvement in China’s repression of Uyghurs in Xinjiang Province.
Hikivision cameras are reportedly used to surveil Uyghurs the Chinese government has imprisoned concentration camps. The company’s equipment is also used throughout the U.S., including on military bases, The Wall Street Journal reported in 2017.
Boxer’s donation to Biden was just $500, however Biden’s inaugural committee does not accept donations from foreign agents, a committee spokesperson told Axios.
“When I am asked to provide strategic advice to help a company operate in a more responsible and humane manner consistent with U.S. law in spirit and letter, it is an opportunity to make things better while helping protect and create American jobs,” Boxer wrote in a comment to Axios.
Boxer, who served as California senator from 1993 until 2017, registered as a foreign agent for Hikivision on Friday as part of her position at lobbying group Mercury Public Affairs. Boxer’s registration form was first reported on Tuesday by The Daily Caller.
Mercury was founded by former Republican senator David Vitter of Louisiana.