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China Accused Of Using Big Data To Select Muslims For Arrest In Xinjiang

Photo Credit; Rights Watch


Muslims in China’s Xinjiang have been “arbitrarily” chosen for arrest by a pc programme that flagged suspicious behaviour, activists mentioned Wednesday, in a report detailing large knowledge’s function in repression within the restive area.

The US-based NGO Human Rights Watch mentioned leaked police knowledge that listed over 2,000 detainees from the Aksu prefecture was additional proof of “how China’s brutal repression of Xinjiang’s Turkic Muslims is being turbocharged by technology.”

Beijing has come beneath intense worldwide criticism over its insurance policies within the resource-rich territory, the place rights teams say as many as a million Uighurs and different principally Muslim minorities have been held in internment camps.

China defends the services as vocational coaching centres aimed toward stamping out terrorism and bettering employment alternatives.

Surveillance spending in Xinjiang has ballooned in recent times, with facial recognition, iris scanners, DNA assortment and synthetic intelligence deployed throughout the province within the identify of stopping terrorism.

HRW mentioned it had obtained the listing — which detailed detentions from mid-2016 to late 2018 — from an nameless supply that had beforehand offered audiovisual content material taken from inside a facility in Aksu.

The group gave an instance of a “Mrs T” — detained for “links with sensitive countries” who was listed as having obtained numerous calls from a international quantity which belonged to her sister.

Researchers on the NGO spoke to the lady and realized that police had interrogated her sister in Xinjiang, however she has had no direct contact together with her household within the province since.

– ‘Uighur alarm’ –

The individuals have been flagged utilizing a programme referred to as the Integrated Joint Operations Platform, which collected knowledge from surveillance programs in Xinjiang, earlier than officers determined whether or not to ship them to camps, in keeping with HRW.

The group mentioned its analysis suggests the “vast majority” of individuals have been flagged to authorities for authorized behaviour, together with cellphone calls to kinfolk overseas, having no fastened deal with or switching off their cellphone repeatedly.

Only round 10 per cent of the individuals on the listing have been detained for terrorism or extremism.

The listing, elements of which have been proven to AFP, described the rationale for the detention of lots of the individuals as merely being “flagged” by the built-in platform.

The rights group has not printed the total contents of the listing, citing security considerations for the one who had leaked it.

China’s international ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian on Wednesday accused Human Rights Watch of “stirring up trouble”, saying the report was “not worth refuting.”

The native Aksu authorities, in addition to Xinjiang’s regional authorities, didn’t instantly reply to AFP’s requests for remark.

Separately, US-based surveillance analysis agency IPVM mentioned in a report Tuesday that Chinese telecoms large Huawei had been concerned in testing facial recognition software program that would ship alerts to police when it recognised Uighur minorities’ faces.

An inside Huawei report cited by IPVM — which has been faraway from the corporate’s web site however continues to be seen in Google searches — confirmed the software program as passing checks for “Uighur alerts” and “recognition based on age, sex, ethnicity, angle of facial images.”

Huawei mentioned Wednesday that the programme “has not seen the real-world application,” and that the corporate “only supplies general-purpose products for this kind of testing.”


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