Data Leviathan: China’s Burgeoning Surveillance State (The New York Review of Books, 5 min read)
Continuing our discussion on China’s Orwellian measures to monitor and control citizens, we chose this piece on the indiscriminate methods applied within the lesser-known area of Xinjiang, which is densely populated with Uighur Muslims. Vast resources are going into mass surveillance of the 22m citizens in the region, using advanced mobile apps that share personal information with authorities. Unacceptable behaviour includes preaching the Quran, using too much electricity, or even failing to socialise with neighbours, and if caught, Muslims are relocated to political education camps.
Why does this matter? The case of Xinjiang sheds light on how mass surveillance works throughout China. While Xinjiang’s systems are particularly intrusive, their basic designs are similar to those the police are planning and implementing elsewhere. All this is gathering global attention, with a recent Human Rights Watch report suggesting immediate termination of the practices or otherwise a need for foreign intervention.
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