High-Tech Human Rights Abuses in China

March 20, 2020

In Xinjiang, China has started a massive crackdown on Uighur Muslims and is using high-tech tools developed in Silicon Valley to assist its efforts. China claims that this crackdown has a legitimate basis, to stop terrorism and Islamic extremism. However, human rights organizations say it is the largest mass internment of an ethnic minority since World War II and a massive violation of basic human rights.

The BBC reported in November 2019 that, starting in 2017,  the Chinese government forced large numbers of Uighurs into indoctrination camps euphemistically called “Vocational Education and Training Centers.” A leak of internal government documents made to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists highlights the atrocities perpetrated against the Uighurs in these centers. The “China Cables,” as the ICIJ calls them, included a nine-page memo sent out in 2017 to the officials who run the camps by Zhu Hailun, the deputy-secretary of Xinjiang’s Communist Party. The memo contained orders to “[ensure] full video surveillance coverage of dormitories and classrooms free of blind spots”, “increase discipline and punishment of behavioural violations”, and “encourage students to truly transform”. The Chinese state wants to demolish the culture and religion of the Uighurs in order to make them loyal to the communist government and are using every resource to their advantage.

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