torsdag 18. november 2021

China’s persecution of Uyghurs is preview of wider surveillance scheme

Members of a bipartisan congressional commission warned Wednesday that China’s use of technology to repress Muslim Uyghurs in its far-western Xinjiang is widening and could be exported around the world. The U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China, which Congress established in 2000, held a hearing in Washington to draw attention to human rights abuses and the strategic impact of mass surveillance technology and censorship used by China, including in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

Sen. Jeff Merkley, co-chairperson of the 17-member commission, said that without proper guardrails to protect privacy and human rights, technology can be used by authoritarian regimes to control populations, prevent freedom of expression, and undermine democratic institutions. China has “the most pervasive surveillance state the world has ever seen” using technologies such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, and cloud computing, said Merkley, a U.S. senator from Oregon.

The government has amassed huge amounts of data from cell phones, personal computers, and security cameras to impose political and social control of targeted populations, he said.