By: Jianli Yang & Dolkun Isa – April 27, 2021
China today hosts a complex web of surveillance systems to keep track of its citizens and critics, both at home and abroad. Not only does the Chinese state operate multiple systems to maintain surveillance on its citizens, but it also tasks private companies working in China to further enhance its network of human and technical spies.
Scores from China, including Uyghurs living abroad, face surveillance and find their families in the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) occupied East Turkistan, also known as the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) or Xinjiang, being threatened to cooperate with the Chinese state.
Recently, another interesting fact on this subject came to light. IPVM, a surveillance industry publication shared information with The New York Times about Alibaba’s website for its cloud computing business, showing how clients could use its software to detect the faces of Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples via images and videos. This feature was built into Alibaba software, helping web platforms monitor digital content for material related to “terrorism, pornography and other red-flag categories.” All Chinese companies are bound by law to work for the Chinese state and provide services, including those which assist in monitoring and persecuting the Uyghurs. When the NYT asked Alibaba about the tool, the company edited its website and… [Continue Reading]