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Tags: China | HumanRightsWatch | China | Muslims

Rights Group: Big Data 'Turbocharged' Repression in China Province

human rights watch logo on phone in front of chinese flag
(Dreamstime)

Wednesday, 09 December 2020 11:50 AM

Muslims in China's Xinjiang province were "arbitrarily" selected for arrest by a computer program that flagged suspicious behavior, Human Rights Watch is charging.

HRW said leaked police data listing over 2,000 detainees from Aksu prefecture was further evidence of  "how China’s brutal repression of Xinjiang’s Turkic Muslims is being turbocharged by technology," Agence France-Presse reported Wednesday.

Beijing has come under international fire over its policies in the resource-rich territory, where rights groups say as many as 1 million Uighurs and other mostly Muslim minorities have been held in internment camps, AFP noted.

China claims the camps are vocational training centers designed to stamp out terrorism and improve employment opportunities.

HRW said it obtained a detainees’ list covering mid-2016 to late 2018 that flagged people using a program called the Integrated Joint Operations Platform, which collected data from surveillance systems in Xinjiang. HRW charged officials used the list to decide whether to send them to camps, AFP reported.

The rights group said its information suggests the "vast majority" of people were flagged to authorities for legal behavior, including phone calls to relatives abroad, having no fixed address, or switching off their phone repeatedly.

Only around 10% of the people on the list were detained for the reasons of terrorism or extremism, AFP reported.

China's foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian accused Human Rights Watch of "stirring up trouble," saying the report was "not worth refuting," CBS News reported.

According to CBS News, U.S.-based surveillance research firm IPVM said in a report Tuesday that Chinese telecoms giant Huawei had been involved in testing facial recognition software that could send alerts to police when it recognized Uighur minorities' faces.

Huawei said the program "has not seen real-world application," and that the company "only supplies general-purpose products for this kind of testing," CBS News reported.

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Muslims in China's Xinjiang province were "arbitrarily" selected for arrest by a computer program that flagged suspicious behavior, Human Rights Watch is charging. HRW said leaked police data listing...
HumanRightsWatch, China, Muslims
300
2020-50-09
Wednesday, 09 December 2020 11:50 AM
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