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China uses technology to criminalise thought crime

Analysis | Digital Editor Jack Houghton

The city of Kashgar in far west China once served as a silk road oasis town connecting the red dragon to the Middle East.

Today it serves a very different purpose, functioning as a technological testing ground for an increasingly authoritarian Chinese government.

Surveillance has become one of Xi Jinping’s largest growth sectors as he pours billions of dollars into technology that has become chillingly adept at stamping out social dissidents.

Kashgar – a town with roughly the same population as the Gold Coast – is situated in Xinjiang, a province made infamous by the Chinese government’s conflict with the Uighur Muslim minorities, many of whom are languishing in re-education camps which China has compared to free trade colleges.

How fortunate for them.

And while technology has been a liberator of oppression for most, in this case it is being used to round up minorities who have not yet committed crimes.

China is treating the city like “a battlefield”, according to a New York Times investigation, with thousands of street cameras capable of facial recognition linking to a complete database of residents.

Cross into an area you are not supposed to be in and within minutes local police will get an alert.

An engineer for CETC wrote about his technology in a blog which is still live in China where he described the goal was to “apply the ideas of military cyber systems to civilian public security”.

“Looking back, it truly was an idea ahead of its time.”

The NYT also reported that local police have taken the technology a step further than mere policing.

The goal now is to “anticipate potential crime, protest or violence”.

Future crime is being stamped out before dissidents get a chance to make the decision themselves.

And the punishment for their heinous thought crimes?

It is estimated up to 1 million innocent Uighurs are being held in re-education camps in Xinjiang alone.

In December last year, Chinese Ambassador to Australia Cheng Jingye provided a rare insight into the rationale for such an aggressive approach to policing.

He argued there had been terrorist attacks associated with Muslims in the area and now that every Muslim was in jail, he was proud to announce there had been no more attacks.

He referred to the detention centres as “deradicalisation” camps needed to curb “extremist ideology”.

“The local government has taken tough measures to crack down on those terrorism or violence,” he said.

“At the same time, they have started to take measures to address the fundamental cause of this.

“That includes to set up vocational training and education centres where people, aimed at deradicalisation to help people, to bring people affected by the extremist ideology and get rid of those influences.”

Yes, the forced labour camps were politely labelled “vocational training” centres.

Still, there is an eerily deafening silence from the centre-left of politics on these crimes by China against a minority group it would traditionally defend.

Labor has time and again proved it is incapable of speaking objectively about Chinese human rights issues and – more disturbingly – leaders such as Daniel Andrews are more than happy to engage in trade deals without the knowledge or approval of his federal counterparts.

And the increasingly oppressive stances our state leaders are taking implementing lockdowns and indefinite states of emergency should worry all Australians.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s frustrations with the states was abundantly clear today when he declared the strict state border closures were anti-federation and it was impossible to have a “zero-risk society”.

“The federation was not built to be that way,” the prime minister said.

“You don’t enter into having those borders lightly – nor should you – and you should be seeking, on all opportunities, to be in a position to lift them whenever you can.”

It is being reported that the technologically oppressive Kashgar situation is a trial for what all of China will eventually become.

Don’t be fooled by any leader trying to sell the illusion of no crime and no risk.

You wouldn’t want to live in that world.

View the Original Article at Sky News

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