Chinese algorithms used to find 'signs' of Islamic extremism among Uyghurs: Report


According to the latest report by Noema magazine, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has intensified the surveillance through data policing.


Various investigative reports have until now suggested that China has been using mass surveillance programme to control every aspect of the life of Uyghur Muslims in the Xinjiang region. According to the latest report by Noema magazine, published by a US-based think tank, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has intensified the surveillance through data policing. 

Chinese tech giant Meiya Pico is reportedly helping the CCP analyse the digital footprint of ethnic minorities to identify ‘signs’ of Islamic extremism. As per the report titled ‘The Xinjiang Data Police’, the digital forensics tools, built by Meiya Pico, is used to feed data about the digital histories of individuals into a region-wide system called the Integrated Joint Operations Platform (IJOP).

Last year, classified documents from within the CCP were leaked to International Consortium of Investigative Journalists which revealed China’s crackdown on Uyghur Muslims and use of Artificial Intelligence to monitor these communities in China and abroad. China has deployed IJOP to collect personal information on citizens and create a lengthy list of “suspicious” people based on this data. 

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The forensic tools are built to scan through smartphones and other electronic devices in less than two minutes and match it with the flagged material in the form of audio, video, picture, and text files which had been deemed related to religious extremism, Noema reported. The surveillance system reportedly targeted Uyghur and Kazakh Muslim populations as the Chinese state media began to represent them as “venomous snakes” and “disease-carrying insects”. 


The data generated through the digital surveillance system and interrogation help them label Muslims as “untrustworthy” and within two years, nearly 350,000 people have been convicted of criminal offences and sentenced prison terms, reported Noema. In 2019, internal documents of Chinese governments revealed the directives of President Xi Jinping in which he told officials to “show absolutely no mercy” on Uyghur Muslims in the “struggle against terrorism, infiltration and separatism”.



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