Israel and China have been developing increasingly close economic, diplomatic, and military ties with each other particularly over the past decade.
Israel has actively sought to maintain close ties with China as it continues to rise as a major global economic player. Israel is seen by China as a point of strategic importance, political stability and technological ingenuity making it a focal point in the Middle East to secure China’s influence in the region and in the rest of the world.Ynetnews Opinion – US alienation leading to Israeli-Chinese renaissance
Israel – China Relations
Israel was the first country in the Middle East to recognize the PRC as the legitimate government of China, but formal relations between Israel and China did not begin until 1992.China marks 17 years with Israel
Israel maintains an embassy in Beijing, enjoying China as its third largest trading partner and its largest in East Asia with their combined trading volume estimated at $15 billion in 2013.Sino-Israeli Economic Ties Blossoming
China is one of the few countries to simultaneously maintain positive relations with Israel, Palestine, and the wider Muslim world, prompting speculation that China could have influence over future peace negotiations between Israel and Palestine.Will the Middle Kingdom Join the Middle East Peace Quartet?
Israel and China have been engaged in military cooperation with each other since the 1980s despite having no formal diplomatic relations until 1992.ISRAEL AND CHINA QUIETLY FORM TRADE BONDS According to Isaac Shihor, several military deals worth billions of dollars were concluded in the 1980s. He continues to say that Israeli military experts were deployed in China to provide military advice on various issues such as tanks, aircraft and the missile industry.Isaac Shihor,‘Two Steps Forward and One Step Back: Chinese-Israeli Relationsin the 1980s’, in Benjamin Noibergr (Ed.),Wars and Reconciliations. Tel Aviv: TheOpen University, 1992 China’s modernization of its military complemented Israel’s need for cash to fund its domestic needs for high-tech weaponry programs. It is speculated that IAI Lavy and UAV technology has been sold to China. Israel also provided expertise in fitting Western equipment in Soviet-made hardware which aided the modernization of China’s army and air forces.Israel-China Relations And The Phalcon Controversy
The Israeli military commentator Ze’ev Schiff wrote in Yediot Ahronot that the first arms deal between the two countries was signed in December 1979 with a value of US$265 million. Under the deal, Israel upgraded hundreds of Russian tanks. According to Schiff, China later sold these tanks to Iran. The second deal, worth US$1.5 billion, he continues to say, was concluded in 1983, for the supply of air-to-air missiles from Israel to China. In 1985, the two states made the first openly declared deal, under which China received 54 Kfir aircraft, Mercava tanks, Gabriel missiles and upgraded F-10 aircraft.China–Israel Relations: The Cold Calls, p. 78 Islam Ayyadi & Mohammed Kamal (2016) CHINA-ISRAEL ARMS TRADE ANDCO-OPERATION: HISTORY AND POLICY IMPLICATIONS, Asian Affairs, 47:2, 260-273
In the early 1990s then-CIA Director James Woolsey told a Senate Government Affairs Committee that Israel had been selling U.S. secrets to China for about a decade.Report: Israel Passes U.S. Military Technology to China
The Israel-China military trade relationship continued to bloom through-out the 1990s, arguably reaching a visible zenith in the middle of the decade. During this period, Israel was only second to Russia as a supplier of arms to China, and up to 20% of China’s arms were purchased from Israel.Islam Ayyadi & Mohammed Kamal (2016) CHINA-ISRAEL ARMS TRADE ANDCO-OPERATION: HISTORY AND POLICY IMPLICATIONS, Asian Affairs, 47:2, 260-273
In 1999, during agreements made in Israel between Chinese Defense Minister Chi Haotian and Ehud Barak, military deals were made including an Israeli-Russian sale of aircraft estimated at $1 billion.BEIJING-JERUSALEM TIES GROW STRONGER
Israel also had planned to sell China the Phalcon, an Israeli-developed early-warning radar system (AWACS) for $2 billion but was forced to cancel the deal after demands from the US.Israel’s role in China’s new warplane
In the mid-90s Israel and China made a US$70 million deal for approximately 100 Harpy UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles). The deal also required that Israeli personnel should provide training to the Chinese operators of the Harpy UAVs. In July 2002, China carried out one of its largest-ever military exercises in Fujian Province during a time of especially heightened tension with Taiwan and continuing difficulties with the US. During these exercises, it emerged that China had used not only Israeli radar-jamming systems, but also the Israeli-supplied Harpy UAVs.Islam Ayyadi & Mohammed Kamal (2016) CHINA-ISRAEL ARMS TRADE ANDCO-OPERATION: HISTORY AND POLICY IMPLICATIONS, Asian Affairs, 47:2, 260-273
In 2008 IAI sold two AMOS communication satellites to China with a view to their use in the broadcast of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and the opening of a factory by IAI in China as a joint venture with the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC).IAI to provide 2 communications satellites to China for $180m
In June 2011, Ehud Barak, then Israeli defense minister, visited China, the first person in his position to do so for 10 years. Two months later, General Chen Bingde, head of the People’s Liberation Army’s General Staff, visited Tel Aviv with a view, according to the Chinese Defense Ministry, to “deepening understanding, enhancing friendships, expanding consensus and promoting cooperation.”Shalom, Beijing In August 2012, ships from the PLA Navy anchored at Israel’s Haifa naval base to mark the 20th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
In 2013 media reported that Secret U.S. missiles and electro-optic technology was transferred to China recently by Israel, prompting anger from the U.S. and causing a senior Israeli defense official to resign. Technology, that included a miniature refrigeration system manufactured by Ricor and was used for missiles and in electro-optic equipment.Report: Israel Passes U.S. Military Technology to China
In 2012 Israeli border police conducted a large-scale training exercise at Beit Hanoun, north of the Gaza border, for 53 Chinese personnel responsible for policing Tibetan and Uighur areas.China And Israel Expand Military Ties In Sign Of Growing Cooperation
China and Israel held their first ever Strategy and Security Symposium in September 2011 under the aegis of SIGNAL (the Sino-Israel Global Network and Academic Leadership), which in the following year established Israel studies programs at several Chinese universities. In 2013, the Technicon-Israel Institute of Technology announced the launch of a campus at Shantou University in Guangdong.China’s Deepening Interest in Israel
Between 2007-2018 China invested in Israeli companies developing semiconducters, AI, satellite communications, cybersecurity, robotics and other technologies. Israeli companies that were involved in deals with Chinese investors: Thetaray, Kaymera, Toga Networks, HexaTier, Copyleaks, Windward, Dynamic Yield, Infinity Augmented Reality, Eyesight, Mobileye and Airobotics. As to a research of RAND, Chinese investment in Israel’s technology sector creates risks for potential transfer of sensitive technologies that could help China develop military and cyber capabilities.Chinese Investment in Israeli Technology and Infrastructure
In 2019 international media reported that the Israeli company Anyvision , that develops facial recognition technology had connections with Hong Kong and Macau.Microsoft-backed facial recognition firm rethinks its role in Hong Kong
In 2020 it was reported that Hong Kong police used Cellebrite’s technology to attack pro-democracy protester in Hong Kong in 2020. Cellebrite’s hardware (UFED) cracked the phones of nearly 4,000 detainees.Human Rights Activists Urge Israel to Stop Spy Tool Exports to Hong Kong Police Pro-democracy leader Joshua Wong announced that Cellebrite’s technology was used to search his device.Hong Kong democracy activists to Israel: Stop exporting tech to police The activist, along with Israeli lawyer Eitay Mack and others, called on Israeli authorities to block Cellebrite from exporting to Hong Kong. Cellebrite stopped selling its products to China and Hong Kong in October 2020.Cellebrite to Stop Selling Its Digital Intelligence Offerings in Hong Kong & China
In 2021, an investigation of “the Intercept” has found, that Chinese police on the mainland continued to purchase Cellebrite’s UFED products. Resellers of Cellebrite softwares continued also to provide updates for the software. In one case, a reseller reported a delivery of UFED devices to border guards in Tibet.CHINESE POLICE KEPT BUYING CELLEBRITE PHONE CRACKERS AFTER COMPANY SAID IT ENDED SALES Also police academies in Hunan and Henan provinces bought the company’s technology.Procurement Documents Hunan Cellebrite It was also revealed that police in Guangxi province purchased UFED.Procurement Award Gunagxi Cellebrite
One of Cellebrite’s key partners in China is Beijing Information Security Technology, that distributed Cellebrite’s products and trainings in China.CHINESE POLICE KEPT BUYING CELLEBRITE PHONE CRACKERS AFTER COMPANY SAID IT ENDED SALES Technology brokers operating in Hong-Kong also continued to offer Cellebrite technologies and still advertised the company’s products.
Usage of Israeli Arms
UFED – In wide use by Chinese Police in mainland and in Hong Kong.CHINESE POLICE KEPT BUYING CELLEBRITE PHONE CRACKERS AFTER COMPANY SAID IT ENDED SALES
Human Rights Violations
China has constructed an high-tech surveillance state and a sophisticated internet censorship system to monitor and suppress public criticism.
China is simultaneously detaining a million members of an ethnic minority for forced indoctrination and attacking anyone who dares to challenge its repression. The detentions have created countless “orphans”—children whose parents are in custody—who are now held in schools and state-run orphanages where they, too, are subjected to indoctrination.
Reports about the detention of Uyghurs, Kazakhs and other predominantly Muslim ethnic groups continued in Xinjiang despite the government’s claim that it may eventually phase out purported “vocational training centers”, also known as “transformation-through-education” centers. From early 2017, after the Xinjiang government had enacted a regulation enforcing so-called “de-extremification”, an estimated up to one million Uyghurs, Kazakhs and other ethnic minority people were sent to these internment camps.UN: Act to End China’s Mass Detentions in Xinjiang Many religious figures, intellectuals and academics were detained in Xinjiang merely for exercising their rights to freedom of religion and expression. This includes Ilham Tohti, a Uyghur economist, writer and professor who was sentenced to life in prison in 2014 and Tashpolat Teyip, former president of Xinjiang University who was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve in 2017, both on charges of “separatism.”China: Uyghur academic faces execution in China: Tashpolat Tiyip
China has made technology central to its repression. nightmarish system has already been built in Xinjiang, the northwestern region that is home both to some 13 million Muslims—Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and other Turkic minorities—and to the most intrusive public monitoring system the world has ever known.
The Chinese government has deployed video cameras throughout the region, combined them with facial-recognition technology, deployed mobile-phone apps to input data from officials’ observations as well as electronic checkpoints, and processed the resulting information through big-data analysis.World Report 2020: China’s Global Threat to Human Rights
LGBTI people faced widespread discrimination and stigma in society. Due to inadequate medical services, they took serious risks by seeking unregulated and improper gender-affirming treatments. LGBTI people also faced abuses in the form of “conversion therapy.”Everything you need to know about human rights in China 2021
The government intimidates, harasses, and prosecutes human rights defenders and independent NGOs, including raids on their homes and offices. Human rights defenders’ family members were subjected to police surveillance, harassment, detention and restrictions on their freedom of movement.
The authorities systematically subjected HRDs to surveillance, harassment, intimidation, detention and imprisonment in 2019. Many activists and HRDs continued to be prosecuted on vague and overly broad charges such as “subverting state power”, “inciting subversion of state power” and “picking quarrels and provoking trouble”. Many were held in “residential surveillance in a designated location” on suspicion of involvement in state security crimes. This form of detention allowed the police to detain individuals suspected of such crimes for up to six months in an unknown location outside the formal detention system, with suspects denied access to legal counsel and families.Everything you need to know about human rights in China 2021
With the assistance of private technology and internet companies, officials mastered the use of facial recognition, real-name registration systems and big data to keep people under indiscriminate mass surveillance and control. In July 2018, a draft regulation on China’s social credit system proposed punishing citizens for disseminating information that “violates social morality” or causes “adverse social impacts”. In January 2019, Chinese users reported that they had been threatened, detained or warned for being active on Twitter – a social media platform officially banned in the country. China also extended its control of cyberspace beyond its “Great Firewall” by launching powerful malware and denial of service attacks against overseas servers, websites and messaging apps deemed problematic.Everything you need to know about human rights in China 2021