Haidilao S’pore new outlet in JCube set to open in 3rd Quarter 2021, could be their largest one yet
Located at level 2 of the mallBy GDS Editorial Team on April 28, 2021 at 11:53 pm
It will be located in JCube.
Chinese Restaurant Branch in Taiwan Denies Sending Surveillance Footage to China
After Vancouver Location Admits to Sending Footage
BY ISAAC TEO April 28, 2021 Updated: April 28, 2021
A popular Chinese restaurant chain in Taiwan is denying it’s sending surveillance footage of its customers to China, coming after a Vancouver branch admitted it sent surveillance footage of its customers to China.
The Haidilao Hot Pot restaurant in Taiwan, in an April 22 statement on Facebook, admitted it recorded footage of their customers, but said it was done “mainly to better protect consumers’ dining rights and safety, avoid poor service, and improve service quality.”
The branch also denied ever using the footage to conduct facial recognition and analysis, adding that the recording was done in compliance with Taiwan’s laws and regulations.
It added that the recorded videos are only temporarily stored in its branch, will not be preserved, and “has never been and will not be in the future backup outside of Taiwan.”
The restaurant branch’s statement comes after a The Sunday Guardian Live reported on April 17 that a manager in Haidilao’s Vancouver, Canada, branch “confirmed that over 60 surveillance cameras have been installed in the restaurant at the request of the Haidilao corporation, as part of the social credit system in China.”
The manager, Ryan Pan, told investigative journalist Ina Mitchell and intelligence expert Scott McGregor that each table in its Vancouver location, a total of 30, has two cameras assigned to it in order to monitor and “punish” staff if they don’t adhere to Haidilao’s corporate standards and to “people track” the customers. Pan added that footage captured on those cameras were sent to China, but declined to elaborate further, only saying that it’s a “secret.”
The article prompted backlash and the statement from the Taiwanese location.
Some people said that the cameras are beneficial if it’s for safety reasons and that it’s up to the customer whether or not to eat there again.
Others questioned whether the Taiwanese management can refuse to send the surveillance footage if the Chinese headquarters requests to see it. Others expressed doubt that footage will not only be temporarily stored in the branch, while some noted that the restaurant cameras are manufactured by a Chinese surveillance company controlled by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
Founded in Sichuan province in China in 1994, Haidilao is one of the largest restaurant chains in China with more than 900 locations globally, including in the United States, Canada, Australia, the UK, and Taiwan, among other countries.
In Vancouver, it operates at two locations: one in Richmond, and the other in the Kitsilano district, which is within walking distance to the house that Huawei provides for staff who are temporarily relocated to the province to assist Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of the telecommunications giant. It also takes no more than 10 minutes to reach Meng’s mansion andthe Chinese consulate’s visa office, reported The Sunday Guardian Live.
Mitchell said she believes Beijing chose Pan’s restaurant in Vancouver for “intensive collection of information.”
“Vancouver is a gateway for the Chinese Communist Party into North America where they engage in pervasive foreign interference activity, mobilizing overseas United Front units to strategically lure political and business leaders using financial inducements and other incentives to promote the Party’s agenda,” she told U.S. think tank Gatestone Institute.
Gordon Chang, distinguished senior fellow at Gatestone Institute, explained how China’s social credit system works.
“China takes all the information that it obtains—security cameras, and everything else. And they feed them into this social credit system, which is supposed to be nationwide,” Chang said on The John Batchelor Show alongside Burton.
“But what happens is, every Chinese citizen is given a score. And that score is constantly updated up or down depending on observed behaviors. So if you’re seen jaywalking, your score will go down. If for instance, you say nice things about Xi Jinping, your score will go up,” he added.
“To be clear, the threat does not come from the Chinese people, but rather the Government of China that is pursuing a strategy for geopolitical advantage on all fronts—economic, technological, political, and military—and using all elements of state power to carry out activities that are a direct threat to our national security and sovereignty. We all must strengthen our defences,” he said.
Sky News host Cory Bernardi says Chinese surveillance is coming to a ‘hot pot’ near you after a Vancouver Haidilao Hot Pot was revealed to have installed 60 security cameras to monitor its staff and patrons.
“These are the sorts of restaurants frequented by diplomats, politicians and business professionals where business deals, strategies, and secrets could be discussed,” he said.
“Little wonder that information would have appeal to the communists. The restaurant mentioned above is the Haidilao Hot Pot in Vancouver. There are 935 Haidilao Hot Pot locations around the world including here in Australia.
“They boast 36 million VIP members and employ more than 60,000 staff. I don’t know if all of them are used to spy on their patrons but the manager of the Vancouver operation Ryan Pan is quoted as saying the cameras were installed to ‘punish staff’ and to ‘people track’.
“Nothing to worry about there I am sure… just your private dinner conversation and biometric details being sent back to the biggest surveillance state in history.”