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China Uighurs: One million held in political camps, UN told

Discussion in 'The NF Café' started by GrizzlyClaws, Aug 11, 2018.

  1. GrizzlyClaws Big Bad Grizzly

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  2. EJ 1998 Nintendo

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    economic prosperity before democracy
     
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  3. mr_shadow Minister of State Security Moderator

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    Not if the prosperity is only for the Han though.
     
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  4. Island In the Sun

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    >implying that this changes your opinion of China in any meaningful way
     
  5. mr_shadow Minister of State Security Moderator

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    Should I change my opinion to:

    "We should actively withold prosperity from 1/5 of humanity because they happen to -against their will- be ruled by Winnie the Pooh"?
     
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  6. Island In the Sun

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    Who said anything about actively withholding anything?

    I said that this probably doesn't change your opinion of China (read: the Chinese government, not the Chinese people, something you conflate whenever somebody questions you on this.)
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2018
  7. zeroantizero Well-Known Member

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    No, but you shouldn't ignore it for their, or your, prosperity either.
     
  8. mr_shadow Minister of State Security Moderator

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    IMO Beijing's policy towards Xinjiang, and other border areas (Tibet, Hong Kong, Taiwan) is decidedly counterproductive.

    While they keep insisting that China has had its current borders since the time of the Yellow Emperor (3000 BC) and that all 56 ethnic groups form part of one big harmonious family, in practice they govern China as a Han nation-state and treat minorities like foreigners.

    So on the one hand they try to beat you into feeling Chinese, but on the other hand they don't recognize you as such no matter how hard you try.

    Given how Uighur is mutually intelligible with the Kazakh and Kyrgyz languages, you'd think Uighurs could be a great asset to China as border traders. But actually few are in this business because it's almost impossible for them to get passports, for fear that they'll join transnational Islamist networks.

    Similarly it's hard for them to get entry permits to Hong Kong & Macau, which is why most Muslims in HK are Pakistanis deposited here by the British Empire prior to the reunification.
     
  9. Island In the Sun

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    "Decidedly counterproductive" is an interesting way to describe the internment of a million innocent people. I'd describe it as "atrocious" or as an "egregious crime against humanity", but we all have our agendas, I guess.
     
  10. Fang Titan

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    I'm pretty sure the ultimate matter here is the Han Chinese want to culturally assimilate every single non-Han Chinese ethnic group in China, the CPC will keep encouraging things like Anti-Muslim laws and practices, slowly stripping away education in those far-flung provinces to replace it with mandatory learning of Mandarin or Cantonese, further Sinoification processes and so on.

    Also yes lmao at modern China's borders being the same now as they were 5000 years ago. Most of Central Asia wasn't even held by them like in Tibet, parts of Turkmenistan, etc....
     
  11. mr_shadow Minister of State Security Moderator

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    You have the luxury of living on the other side of the Pacific with (to my knowledge) no particular vested interest in good relations with China, whereas I actually reside in a Chinese territory and need to not get blacklisted from entering the country.

    The idea that Mandarin and Cantonese are somehow equally official varieties of Chinese is a nostalgic pipe dream only held by Hong Kong separatists and Overseas Chinese who haven't been back to China since World War 2.

    In the mainland Mandarin is the only official dialect of Chinese, and when I was at Fudan University you'd see signs above the classroom doors admonishing you to "SPEAK MANDARIN - WRITE SIMPLIFIED". That is to say, you're not allowed to speak Shanghainese (or write traditional characters) in class even though the school is located in Shanghai.

    Here in Hong Kong and Macau there's a special situation where Cantonese enjoys co-official status with Mandarin for the duration of One Country - Two Systems, but it's implied that Mandarin will become the only official dialect here too after the transition period ends in 2047/2049.

    The authorities are already doing their best to encourage learning Mandarin, and the process is accelerated by economic incentives. E.g. a lot of actors and musicians like Jackie Chan and Andy Lau have tried their best to learn the standard dialect so they can gain access to the 1.3-billion market north of the border. This of course leads to a corresponding decline in films and music produced in Cantonese because today most Hong Kongers and Macauese can be trusted to know some Mandarin while mainlanders (and Taiwanese) can not be trusted to know Cantonese.

    One of my teachers at Fudan lamented that while Beijing has at least a token commitment to preserving the languages and cultures of the 55 minorities, they don't see any value in preserving regional Han dialects and customs because those aren't viewed as "real" languages or cultures, just as corrupted or uneducated versions of the "real" Han Chinese language and culture.
     
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  12. Island In the Sun

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    There's a middle ground between being an outspoken dissident and shilling for the Chinese government. You could, for example, not say anything at all.

    But more importantly, whose fault is this? You willingly move to a place that regularly commits human rights violations and then get upset when people call you out on your defense of it?
     
  13. mr_shadow Minister of State Security Moderator

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    I think if I did that people would just tag me and demand that I comment on things.

    C.f. Bacon gets tagged whenever Trump is brought up.
     
  14. Island In the Sun

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    Again, there's a middle ground between dissidence and shilling. For example: "If I expressed my feelings on the subject, it may damage my standing with the Chinese government."

    Most people tag him because they're calling out the hypocrisy of his fringe views.
     
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  15. mr_shadow Minister of State Security Moderator

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    That's definitely an option that's on the table and which I'll definitely employ if there's a second Tian'anmen Massacre or something of that magnitude.

    Though most of the time I like to think my unorthodox stance on the PRC makes for more interesting conversation than just silence.
     
  16. Normality venus

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    Idk why shadow immediately jumps to "so the Chinese dont deserve to live decent lives?!", as if thats the argument anyone is making. You can have a desire to see the Chinese progress without making every damn excuse for their satanic government. Plenty of Americans feel that way about their country as of late. Maybe you can learn a thing or two from us.
     
  17. makeoutparadise I will have my revenge

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  18. Unlosing Ranger Rebirth and destruction, again and again

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    What, camps were phased away in China? I could have sworn you have said that.
     
  19. makeoutparadise I will have my revenge

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    Labor camps were supposedly done away with. Thats the offical line. That was around 2012 2013
     
  20. Unlosing Ranger Rebirth and destruction, again and again

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    They just traded one camp for another I see.
     
  21. makeoutparadise I will have my revenge

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    Well... everything was on the up and up until Xi came to power, now its back to the mao old days
     
  22. mr_shadow Minister of State Security Moderator

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    They said so and I believed them.
     
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  23. mr_shadow Minister of State Security Moderator

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    Massively stepped-up security in China's restive far western region of Xinjiang has helped prevent "great tragedy", a state-run newspaper said on Monday, in the country's first response to a critical United Nations report on the situation there.

    A U.N. human rights panel said on Friday that it had received many credible reports that 1 million ethnic Uighurs in China are held in what resembles a "massive internment camp that is shrouded in secrecy".

    China has said that Xinjiang faces a serious threat from Islamist militants and separatists who plot attacks and stir up tensions between the mostly Muslim Uighur minority who call the region home and the ethnic Han Chinese majority.

    Hundreds have died in unrest there in recent years.

    In joint editorials in its Chinese and English versions, the widely-read Global Times tabloid said criticism of the rights record in Xinjiang was aimed at stirring trouble there and destroying hard-earned stability.

    China's security presence there has prevented Xinjiang from becoming another Syria or Libya, it added.

    "There is no doubt that the current peace and stability in Xinjiang is partly due to the high intensity of regulations. Police and security posts can be seen everywhere in Xinjiang," the paper wrote.

    "But it's a phase that Xinjiang has to go through in rebuilding peace and prosperity and it will transition to normal governance."

    Maintaining peace and stability there is in the basic interest of people in Xinjiang and all of China, it added.

    "The turnaround in Xinjiang's security situation has avoided a great tragedy and saved countless lives, thanks to powerful Chinese law and the strong ruling power of the Communist Party of China," the paper wrote.

    "What the West has been hyping has destroyed numerous countries and regions. When the same evil influence was spreading in Xinjiang, it was decisively curbed."

    Xinjiang has "no room for destructive Western public opinions", and all steps must be taken to ensure its stability, it said.

    "Peace and stability must come above all else. With this as the goal, all measures can be tried. We must hold onto our belief that keeping turmoil away from Xinjiang is the greatest human right."

    China's Foreign Ministry has not yet responded to a request for comment on the United Nations report.

     
  24. Ben Grimm Kicking the Hulk's Ass

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    Goddamit, Orwells 1984 was not a manual.
     
  25. mr_shadow Minister of State Security Moderator

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    China rejected on Monday allegations raised by a U.N. panel that 1 million Uighurs may be held in internment camps in the restive Xinjiang region, but said that some people underwent re-education after being deceived by extremists.

    Hu Lianhe, a senior Communist Party official, said authorities in the far western Xinjiang region guarantee citizens freedom of religious belief and protects "normal religious activities".

    China says that Xinjiang faces a serious threat from Islamist militants and separatists who plot attacks and stir up tensions between the mostly Muslim Uighur minority who call the region home and the ethnic Han Chinese majority.

    Gay McDougall, a panel member, said on Friday it had received many credible reports that 1 million ethnic Uighurs were held in what resembles a "massive internment camp that is shrouded in secrecy, a sort of no rights zone".

    "The argument that 1 million Uighurs are detained in re-education centers is completely untrue," Hu told the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

    "There are no such things as re-education centers."

    Speaking on the second day of the review of China's record in protecting the rights of its 55 ethnic minorities, Hu accused foreign terrorists and extremists of trying to ignite secessionist forces in Xinjiang, leading to assassinations, arson and poisonings.

    He said China had clamped down on such crimes in accordance with the law and did not seek "de-Islamisation" of the region, but added: "Those deceived by religious extremism ... shall be assisted by resettlement and education."

    He said China had imprisoned people for grave crimes, while minor criminals were assigned to vocational training and not subject to arbitrary detention or ill-treatment, without giving numbers.

    U.N. human rights experts and Uighur activists voiced dismay with the delegation's comments. The panel will issue its findings on Aug. 30.

    "I notice that you didn't quite deny that these re-education or indoctrination programs don't take place," McDougall told the Chinese delegation on Monday, seeking clarification on how many people undergo re-education.

    She told Reuters after the review: "We have quite a long way to go in terms of our dialogue with China."

    Panelist Gun Kut described most of the delegation's answers as "very defensive", adding: "I'm sure you didn't come all the way from China to basically say that everything is okay and there is not much to be done."

    Dolkun Isa, president of the exiled World Uighur Congress who attended the session, voiced disappointment.

    "They even denied there are re-education camps. This is not a couple of hundred people - it is more than 1 million to 3 million in detention. But the Chinese government just closes its eyes," he told Reuters.

     
  26. stream Do something, Naruto!

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    The scary part is that even if those reports are true, China's incarceration rate is still far below that of the United States.
     
  27. makeoutparadise I will have my revenge

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    You NEVER believe them shadow NEVER
     
  28. mr_shadow Minister of State Security Moderator

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    In 2013 I was inclined to believe this kind of news because the general trajectory of China since 1978 had been one of ever-increasing freedom, save for the immidiate aftermath of the 1989 Tian'anmen crackdown.

    For example the abolition of labor camps was part of the same reform package as the abolition of the One-Child Policy.

    Back then Xi had only been in power for one year and we didn't have a good sense of his leadership style.
     
  29. mr_shadow Minister of State Security Moderator

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    Filip Liu, a 31-year-old software developer from Beijing, was traveling in the far western Chinese region of Xinjiang when he was pulled to one side by police as he got off a bus.

    The officers took Liu's iPhone, hooked it up to a handheld device that looked like a laptop and told him they were "checking his phone for illegal information".


    Liu's experience in Urumqi, the Xinjiang capital, is not uncommon in a region that has been wracked by separatist violence and a crackdown by security forces.

    But such surveillance technologies, tested out in the laboratory of Xinjiang, are now quietly spreading across China.

    Government procurement documents collected by Reuters and rare insights from officials show the technology Liu encountered in Xinjiang is encroaching into cities like Shanghai and Beijing.

    Police stations in almost every province have sought to buy the data-extraction devices for smartphones since the beginning of 2016, coinciding with a sharp rise in spending on internal security and a crackdown on dissent, the data show.

    The documents provide a rare glimpse into the numbers behind China's push to arm security forces with high-tech monitoring tools as the government clamps down on dissent.

    The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and the Public Security Bureau, which oversee China's high-tech security projects, did not respond to requests for comment.

    The scanners are hand-held or desktop devices that can break into smartphones and extract and analyze contact lists, photos, videos, social media posts and email.

    Hand-held devices allow police to quickly check the content of phones on the street. Liu, the Beijing software developer, said the police were able to review his data on the spot. They apparently didn't find anything objectionable as he was not detained.

    The data Reuters analyzed includes requests from 171 police stations across 32 out of 33 official mainland provinces, regions and municipalities, and appears to show only a portion of total spending.

    The data shows over 129 million yuan ($19 million) in budgeting or spending on the equipment since the beginning of 2016, with amounts accelerating in 2017 and 2018.

    In Shanghai, China's gleaming international port city, two districts budgeted around 600,000 yuan each to purchase phone scanners and data-ripping tools. Beijing's railway police budgeted a similar amount, the documents show.

    "Right now, as I understand it, only two provinces in the whole country don't use these," said a sales representative at Zhongke Ronghui Security Technology Co Ltd, a Shaanxi-based firm that produces the XDH-5200A, one of the scanners detailed in several police procurement documents.

    The representative said police stations across the whole country could consult a centralized repository of extracted data. "Almost every police station will have the equipment."

    Chinese-made devices cost as little as about 10,000 yuan for smaller ones, to hundreds of thousands of yuan for more sophisticated ones, according to prices seen at a police equipment fair in Beijing earlier this year.

    The scanners have not been immediately apparent in cities like Shanghai and Beijing.

    At recent checks at Beijing bus and train stations, and the heavily guarded Tiananmen square area, there were no signs of the devices. But a police officer at Beijing Railway Station confirmed they "have access when needed" to smartphone forensic technology.

    SCANNER DATA

    These sorts of scanners are used in countries like the United States but they remain contentious and security forces need to go through a lengthy legal process to be able to forcibly break into a suspect's phone.

    In China, while a number of firms say they have the ability to crack many phones, police are generally able to get users to hand over their passwords, experts say.

    The procurement documents show some police stations asked for tools that can pull data from a phone user's accounts on Twitter, Facebook and its WhatsApp chat service, Alphabet Inc's Google Chrome browser and Japan's Line messaging platform.

    A May 25 filing from a customs bureau in Beijing budgeted 5.7 million yuan for smartphone forensic tools from two providers, Meiya Pico and Resonant Ltd. It listed messaging platforms and "overseas" apps the devices could read.

    "Basic content collection functions" must include "mobile phone passwords, address books, call history, SMS records, MMS, pictures, audio and video data, calendars, memos and mobile app data," the document said.

    Others listed tools that can breach well-known smartphone brands such as Samsung Electronics, Blackberry, China's own Xiaomi and Huawei [HWT.UL], as well as Apple Inc's tough-to-crack iPhone. Samsung, Blackberry, Xiaomi and Huawei did not respond to requests for comment. Apple declined to comment.

    Wu Wangwei, an engineer at the Beijing-based Dasi Kerui Technology, which trains police personnel to use the scanners said the equipment had become "very common".

    "The smartphone has become the most important source of evidence," he said. Police will always use it "if the case needs it".

    Chinese court cases often cite "electronic investigations," including the collection and accessing of smartphones and tapping into social media accounts, but it is unclear what forensic equipment is involved.

    EXPANDING OUTWARD

    China spent roughly 1.24 trillion yuan on domestic security in 2017, accounting for 6.1 percent of total government spending and more than was spent on the military. Budgets for internal security, of which surveillance technology is a part, have doubled in regions including Xinjiang and Beijing.

    "A good bunch of that went to some very obscure, miscellaneous security spending categories ... including technology," said Adrian Zenz, an academic who specializes in Chinese security spending.

    According to two officials at the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, including one who worked on police projects in Xinjiang, surveillance techniques are tested in the region before being rolled out in other provinces.

    The projects get both public and private financing. Those that have been tested in Xinjiang and later adopted in other provinces include surveillance camera systems, database software and smartphone forensics hardware, one of the officials said, requesting anonymity because the plans are not public.

    "Even if it is not the original plan, if the technology can be tested then it will be cheaper so it can easily be deployed some other place," the person said.

    CRACKS IN THE MACHINE

    China's high tech surveillance gadgets, sometimes referred to as "black tech", often make the headlines. They include police glasses with built-in facial recognition, cameras that analyze how people walk, drones and artificially-intelligent robots.

    A fast-growing industry has developed supplying the government's surveillance needs, propelling firms like the camera maker Hangzhou Hikvision and SenseTime, a fast-growing facial recognition firm.

    The scanners though are key to harvesting data from individuals, whether on the militarized streets of Xinjiang or behind closed doors in Shanghai or Beijing.

    In a cramped training center at Jundacheng Technology in Beijing's tech district, engineers showed Reuters one such machine: a gray, shoebox-sized computer that was hooked up to and ostensibly extracting data from a Samsung smartphone.

    The training firm is one of many that has cropped up to meet a demand for surveillance tools from military, police and private firms.

    The scanner was made by Cellebrite, an Israeli company, but firms including Xiamen Meiya Pico, Hisign Technology and Pwnzen Infotech also make versions widely used in China. Marketing materials promise the ability to crack into most smartphones, including iPhones.

    The hype though can run beyond the reality, experts say.

    Chinese scanner makers often tout the ability to crack smart phone security systems, including Apple's iPhone, but industry insiders admit this usually doesn't mean the latest models.

    "I can only recover older iPhone versions, the most recent ones I can't," Zhang Baizheng, who heads digital forensics training school Beijing Judacheng, told Reuters during a recent visit to the center.

    Apple is also taking steps to stop devices like those used by Chinese police from cracking its phones. New versions of its iOS operating platform disable the USB port after an hour without password access, blocking a key cracking route.

    According to one of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology officials, such security precautions may not matter.

    Most people in China would comply with police requests to unlock their devices, he said.

    "In China, it's not wise to refuse."

     
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