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Washington Needs to Offer an Alternative

Nearly every week, the international news media reports on the Chinese government’s troubling use of technology to spy on its own citizens and those of other countries. China’s tech giants, Foreign Policy reported late last year, work hand…
Chinese paramilitary police wearing face masks to protect against the spread of the coronavirus stand guard near the portrait of Chinese leader Mao Zedong on Tiananmen Gate near Tiananmen Square in Beijing on Saturday, January 9, 2021. 
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If you’re looking for proof that Big Tech never stood a chance against the Chinese Communist Party, here it is.

Chinese President Xi Jinping called on the country’s regulators to ramp up control on the internet economy in a speech on Monday, spelling more trouble for Chinese tech giants that have already been in the government’s crosshairs for their…
Photo by Pavlo Gonchar / SOPA Images/Sipa USA
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Beijing Blocks Clubhouse App to Stop ‘Political’ Conversations

On Monday night, Clubhouse, the red-hot app where people can create chatrooms that disappear after use, became inaccessible in China, presumably blocked by the authorities. Many had expected this to happen, but some were still surprised by how fast…
Logos of social media platforms including Clubhouse, center, are seen on an iPhone 12.
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Leaked List of Over 2,000 Detainees Demonstrates Automated Repression

(New York) – A big data program for policing in China’s Xinjiang region arbitrarily selects Turkic Muslims for possible detention, Human Rights Watch said today. A leaked list of over 2,000 detainees from Aksu prefecture provided to Human Rights Watch…
2020 Badiucao for Human Rights Watch
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Technical Difficulties - A ChinaFile Conversation

The U.S. and other governments should make decisions about Chinese tech companies based on human rights considerations, including the companies’ impact on the rights of people around the world—not just their own citizens. The Chinese companies…
A logo of a smartphone app TikTok is seen on a user post on a smartphone screen Monday, Sept. 28, 2020, in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato)
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Once it seemed inevitable that the internet would create a more open society. Now it’s fostering young nationalists.

In May, Wuhan Diary, the Chinese writer Fang Fang’s account of the early days of the coronavirus outbreak, was released in English by HarperCollins. Fang is no radical. She’s the former chairwoman of the Hubei Provincial Writers…
20200asia_china_firewall
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Inside Terminus 2049: The Young Idealists Risking Everything to Beat Chinese Censorship

Readers of online materials from sources in China are often frustrated when they click on an interesting article—only to find it has been deleted by government censors. Sometimes only a few minutes elapse after an article is published before it…
Cai Wei and Chen Mei.
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Zoom apparently has no qualms about censoring critics in China. In a statement, the company said, “We shut down the meetings instead of blocking the participants by country.” The company apologized for not doing a good job censoring international…
Signage at the headquarters of videoconferencing, remote work, and webinar technology company Zoom (ZM) in the Silicon Valley, San Jose, California, March 28, 2020.
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  We used to worry about Terminator-type artificial intelligence robots dominating the human race, but what we are moving toward is more the opposite: humans are being turned into automatons with little freedom to decide what we do. Across…
A Chinese national flag flutters near surveillance cameras mounted on a lamp post in Beijing, March 15, 2019.
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Government Response Hinged on Invasive New Surveillance Methods

“I thought the days when humans are ruled by machines and algorithms won’t happen for at least another 50 years. [But] this coronavirus epidemic has suddenly brought it on early,” a blogger on the popular Chinese forum Zhihu wrote. The blogger was…
A security guard monitors people through his augmented reality eyewear equipped with an infrared temperature detector in Hangzhou, China, March 24, 2020.
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But Little Action Holding Beijing Accountable

“His wife wore veils.” “He has one more child than allowed by the family planning policy.” “He prayed after each meal.” These are some of the reasons people in Karakax County in Xinjiang, northwestern China, are being detained in “political…
Government social media post in April 2017 shows detainees in a political education camp in Lop County, Hotan Prefecture, Xinjiang.
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New Videos from Families of Activists Wrongfully Detained

(New York) – The Chinese government should immediately release activists, lawyers, and others arbitrarily detained for their work defending human rights and allow them to return to their families to celebrate Lunar New Year, Human Rights Watch said…
From left to right:  Yu Wensheng, Qin Yongpei, Ding Jiaxi
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President Xi Faces Protests in Hong Kong, Global Outcry over Xinjiang

(New York) – The Chinese government’s heightened repression faced unprecedented resistance from Hong Kong people and growing criticisms from concerned governments, as the Chinese Communist Party marked the 70th anniversary of its rule, Human Rights…
Protesters march on a street during a rally against the extradition law proposal on June 9, 2019 in Hong Kong.
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Use of Same Tech in Xinjiang Should Serve as Warning

On October 31, Kyrgyzstan President Sooronbay Jeenbekov inaugurated a new police command center in the capital city of Bishkek. But this local event had an international human rights dimension: the center will manage a network of cameras equipped…
An airplane trace is seen behind a Kyrgyzstan national flag fluttering in a central square in Bishkek March 11, 2013.
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Unlawful Political Screening Used to Disqualify Joshua Wong

(New York) – The Hong Kong Electoral Affairs Commission (EAC) should immediately reverse its decision to disqualify the candidacy of Joshua Wong, a prominent pro-democracy activist, for upcoming district council elections, Human Rights Watch said…
Hong Kong democratic activist Joshua Wong speaks to the media in Hong Kong, Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019. Wong announced plans to contest local elections and warns that any attempt to disqualify him will only spur more support for monthslong pro-democracy pro
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Classical totalitarianism, in which the state controls all institutions and most aspects of public life, largely died with the Soviet Union, apart from a few holdouts such as North Korea. The Chinese Communist Party retained a state monopoly in…
A Chinese national flag flutters near surveillance cameras mounted on a lamp post in Beijing, March 15, 2019.
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Imagine you are stopped at a traffic police checkpoint. A policeman asks for your ID. He then checks his cell phone, and immediately knows many things about you. Not only common public domain information, such as your license plate…
Veja maio 2019
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Unprecedented View into Mass Surveillance of Xinjiang’s Muslims

Tell me about the IJOP and when we first learned about it? The IJOP is a system of systems. It gathers information from, but not limited to, gas stations, checkpoints on the street, and access-controlled areas such as communities and schools. It pulls…
Images of the IJOP surveillance phone app used in Xinjiang, China.
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Chinese authorities are using a mobile app to carry out illegal mass surveillance and arbitrary detention of Muslims in China’s western Xinjiang region.
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On the surface, it seems that many people from China living in Canada do not shy away from voicing their political opinions. This month, at McMaster University, a Chinese student group issued a statement condemning a Uyghur activist’s speech at the…
China: One Belt, One Road, Lots of Obligations PHOTO