Database Entry: “Eradicating Ideological Viruses”: China’s Campaign of Repression Against Xinjiang’s Muslims
Surveillance Use of technology

“Eradicating Ideological Viruses”: China’s Campaign of Repression Against Xinjiang’s Muslims

September 01, 2018
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“In my entire life I’ve been scrutinized.… But the implementation of all the high-tech things and swiping IDs everywhere, that was new…. In 2016, they would check your ID in big crowded places.…if you see officers ahead, you take a different route and they don’t bother crossing the road to check you. That’s been upgraded to something you can’t escape.”

“When my family and I were entering Urumqi after I was released.… the machines went ‘dududu’ when our IDs were swiped. They called me into the office and asked us what crimes we have committed and why we are flagged, and they called our police station; our police explain that I and my family have been blacklisted because I was a [foreign] national and because I was detained. [My family] said their ID cards start making noise when going through the checkpoints ever since I was taken away.”

“Starting from spring 2017, every … home, where one enters, there’s a QR code. Then every two days or every day, the cadres come and scan the QR code, so they know how many people live here, and starting around then, they would ask [our] visitors ‘Why are you here?’… In the evenings the cadres would check as well.”

“[Yes] they did take our DNA samples, [and] iris scans…. When we applied for the passports. For those who can read, they read out from a paper but for those who cannot, [they said,] ‘You can sing a song or tell a story and we will record you.’… You aren’t in a position to argue with them [about the collection].”

“Since 2016, there are cameras in front of every home … which is connected to the police station; they collected the voice samples from everyone, even their gait – I have seen them collect people’s gait in the police station, they asked people to walk back and forth several times. They collected the biometrics of anyone between age 15 to 70, without reasons, including their blood samples.”

“I was driving when I was stopped by the traffic police…. Then a few SWAT police officers came and demanded that I give them my phone. I did, and they plugged the phone in.… There were different kinds of cables for different types of phones. They plugged in my iPhone, but I didn’t see what they were searching for. They handed the phone back to me after five minutes, and I was allowed to leave.…. Earlier, the neighborhood office told residents that they can go to the police to get their phones checked ‘for free’ to see if there’s anything ‘problematic.’ And we went, and it was fine.… Lots of people did that.”

“We don’t really know [what specific unlawful content] to delete, so police officers would provide the service to delete such unlawful content and check your phones, for 500 RMB.… I do not use smartphones anymore, like Samsung or iPhone.”

“People were very fearful because we heard there were bugs inside the house, inside the cars, we don’t really know if there are, but everyone is scared and if they have to say something they sign rather than speak.”