The invasive surveillance is based on behaviors that are allowed under the laws of the People’s Republic of China, such as studying
the Quran or calling family abroad, according to a report by ShareAmerica. -ShareAmerica photo -

Published Monday, January 11, 2021

International News

China uses big data to persecute and
detain Turkic ethnic people,
says report

By A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The Chinese Communist Party, CCP, is allegedly monitoring big data to target Uighurs to detain and send to government-run detention centers, according to a Human Rights report.

The invasive surveillance is based on behaviors that are allowed under the laws of the People’s Republic of China, such as studying the Quran or calling family abroad, according to a report by ShareAmerica, the U.S. Department of State’s platform for communicating American foreign policy worldwide.

The Uighurs are “the second-largest contingent of Muslims in China, they are a Turkic minority of approximately 10 million people with its own language, customs, and Eurasian appearance that is largely concentrated in the northwestern region of Xinjiang,” according to a report from Freedom House, a United States based non-profit organization funded by the U.S. government.

Muslims make-up 1.8% of the Chinese population, according to the Central Intelligence Agency’s World Factbook. And have been a part of the country’s population for more than 1000 years.

According to the Share America report, Human Rights Watch, HRW, reported that the CCP uses its Integrated Joint Operations Platform, IJOP, to scan data from surveillance cameras, cell phones, police checkpoints and other sources to select Uighurs for possible detention.

The report, “China: Big Data Program Targets Xinjiang’s Muslims,” is based on HRW’s analysis of a leaked list of more than 2,000 detainees from Aksu Prefecture, and found that the vast majority of detainees on the list were flagged for nonviolent behavior.

“The Aksu List provides further insights into how China’s brutal repression of Xinjiang’s Turkic Muslims is being turbocharged by technology,” HRW China researcher Maya Wang said in the report. “The Chinese government should immediately shut down the IJOP, delete all the data it has collected, and release everyone arbitrarily detained in Xinjiang."

Since 2017, the CCP has interned more than 1 million Uighurs and members of other predominantly Muslim ethnic minority groups in camps in Xinjiang where they are forced to renounce their religious and ethnic identities and swear allegiance to the CCP, the U.S. Department of State’s report said.

The Aksu List identifies more than 2,000 detainees and provides the CCP’s reasoning for their detention. Reasons given include legal activities, ranging from traveling within Xinjiang or speaking with a relative abroad, to simply being born after 1980.

After the IJOP identifies someone for possible detention, according to HRW, police or other administrative officials make detention decisions without involving prosecutors or the court — a violation of China’s constitution. Aksu Prefecture’s population is 80% Uighurs and all the detainees on the list are Uighurs.

“The mass surveillance and arbitrary detention of Xinjiang’s Turkic Muslims violate fundamental rights under China’s constitution and international human rights law,” the report said.

The United States in July sanctioned CCP officials and entities in connection with serious human rights abuses in Xinjiang, and it has restricted exports of certain technologies to companies that have contributed to mass surveillance programs linked to human rights abuses.

“The world cannot stand idly by as the PRC government perpetrates horrific and systematic abuses against people in China, including violating the internationally recognized right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion or belief,” Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo said.

Should the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights intervene to stop the detention of minority civilians in China?  We would like to know your thoughts on this story. Send your comments to

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