Videos show how China has installed facial recognition scanners in Uighur mosques

A video showing how people entering a mosque in Xinjiang have to go through a facial recognition scanner (screengrab from the video filmed by Nihad Jariri).


A video filmed in China in July shows facial recognition scanners at the entrances to several mosques in Ürümqi, the capital of the northwestern region of Xinjiang, home to more than 10 million people from the Uighur Muslim minority. Experts who have been following the Chinese crackdown on the Uighur community say that these scanners are the latest in a push to put this region under total surveillance.

Anyone who wants to go to the Noghay mosque in Ürümqi has to first agree to have their face scanned by a machine with facial recognition software. A video posted on Twitter on August 23 shows men lining up inside a small building that serves as a checkpoint.

One after another, they stand in front of a screen and a face scanner that verifies their identity, all under the watchful gaze of a man in uniform. The machine gives mosque goers directions: first, "Bir az saqlang", which means “please wait for a moment”, and then "Kirsingiz bolidu" ("you may proceed”). The turnstile is then released and the person can continue on to the mosque, after going through a security checkpoint.