The Chinese government has ordered major media outlets in China to not cover the release of Walt Disney's "Mulan." Authorities ordered the ban as controversy broke out over the film's links with China's Xinjiang region, where China is committing mass human rights abuses against the Uighur minority population and others, Reuters reports today. — Read the rest
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists has published five leaked Chinese intelligence memos — a lengthy "telegram" and four shorter "bulletins" — from 2017, which detail the plans to enact a program of mass incarceration for members of predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities (especially Uyghurs) in China's Xinjiang province.
The New York Times has received a 403-page leak of internal Chinese state documents related to the ethnic cleansing effort in Xinjiang province, which has seen the creation of more than 500 concentration camps where Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and other predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities have been subjected to torture, rape and medical experimentation.
Tiktok (formerly Musica.ly) is the massively popular, $75b social media sensation primarily used for short lip-sync clips with high-precision choreography and endlessly inventive special effects and video techniques.
Back in 2017, Chinese authorities in Xinjiang began stopping members of the Uyghur ethnic minority and forcing them to install spyware on their phones: it marked an intensification of the country's crackdown on Uyghur's and other ethnic/religious minorities, which acquired a new technological fervor: next came the nonconsensual collection of the DNA of every person in Xinjiang, then the creation of torture camps designed to brainwash Uyghurs out of their Islamic faith, and then a full blown surveillance smart-city rollout that turned the cities of the region into open-air prisons.
China's Xinjiang province is home to the country's Uyghur ethnic minority and other people of Turkic Muslim descent; it has become a living laboratory for next-generation, electronically mediated totalitarianism; up to 1,000,000 people have been sent to concentration/torture camps in the region, and targets for rendition ot these camps come via compulsory mobile apps that spy on residents in every conceivable way (naturally, war criminal Eric "Blackwater" Prince, brother of billionaire heiress Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, is into this stuff up to his eyeballs, as are other American collaborators).
Xinjiang province is the site of intense surveillance and oppression, even by Chinese standards; it's home to the largely Muslim Uyghur minority, and a combination of racism and Islamaphobia drive a uniquely intrusive grade of policing and surveillance.
China's Xinjiang province is home to the Uyghur ethnic/religious minority, whose fights for self-determination have been brutally and repeatedly crushed by the Chinese state: now, people in Xinjiang are being required to install mobile spyware on their devices.
A quick roundup of news links related to the ongoing violent clashes in China's Xinjiang region between Han Chinese and ethnic Uighurs (who consider the region a sovereign nation – in many respects, the conflict is similar to that of Tibet.) — Read the rest
(Image: "Karakorum Highway, Xinjiang" by flickr user pmorgan.) For folks struggling to understand the current explosion of ethnic unrest in what the government of China officially refers to as the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, this Far East Economic Review essay by Calla Weimer may be helpful reading. — Read the rest
Chinese science fiction author Liu Cixin is perhaps best known for the Remembrance of the Earth's Past trilogy, which is sometimes referred to by the name of the first book, The Three Body Problem, which was the first Asian novel to win the Hugo Award for Best Novel; it also helped kick-off the current Chinese science fiction renaissance. — Read the rest
As we mentioned yesterday, China has banned media coverage of Disney's new live-action remake of Mulan. The most expensive movie ever directed by a woman (Niki Caro), with a cast full of famous Chinese and Chinese-American actors should have been a huge win for, well, everyone, right? — Read the rest
Baidu offers a satellite map service much like Google's or Microsoft's. Based in China, it is subject to rigorous censorship. By comparing conspiciously blanked-out areas on Baidu Maps to the corresponding regions in western mapping services, Buzzfeed uncovered a network of prisons and internment camps in Xinjiang. — Read the rest
The China Law Blog (previously) is one of my favorite sources of insight into the secret workings of the businesses that produce the majority of the world's daily-use goods.
Slate compiled a list of the 30 most evil companies in tech, starting with Mspy (#30) all the way up to Amazon (#1). I weighed in on Oracle (#17, "It takes a lot to make me feel like Google is being victimized by a bully, but Oracle managed it") and Apple (#6, "Apple won't spy on you for ads, but they'll help the Chinese government spy on its citizens to keep its supply chain intact").
Yesterday Bytedance, the company that acquired the tween-centric app Musica.ly and relaunched it as Tiktok, was been sued by a parents' group for violating the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act by gathering, storing, and selling private information about their children. Today, they settled the case on terms that have not been disclosed.
Back in September, a Congressional committee investigating anticompetitive conduct by America's tech giants sent a letter to Apple (among other Big Tech firms) asking it for details of business practices that seem nakedly anticompetitive; Apple's response seeks to justify much of that conduct by saying that it is essential to protecting its users' privacy.
An American teenager's clever TikTok video managed to sneak in banned commentary on the topic of China's concentration camps and torture programs for Uighur Muslims. The teen's video was bookended with beauty tips, and went viral with 1.4M+ views and ~500,000 likes. — Read the rest
James Scott's 1998 classic Seeing Like a State describes how governments shoehorn the governed into countable, manageable ways of living and working so that they can be counted and steered by state bureaucracies. Political scientist Henry Farrell (previously) discusses how networked authoritarianism is touted by its advocates as a way of resolving the problems of state-like seeing, because if a state spies on people enough and allows machine-learning systems to incorporate their behavior and respond to it, it is possible to create "a more efficient competitor that can beat democracy at its home game" — providing for everyone's needs better than a democracy could.
Zeynep Tufekci (previously) has been in Hong Kong reporting on the protests for months, and she's witnessed firsthand the failure of every prediction that the uprising would end soon — but despite the mounting numbers and militancy of protesters, she reports that the protesters are not animated by hope or optimism, but rather, a fatalistic understanding that they will lose eventually, and a determination to go down fighting.