Heartbreak, Disinformation, and New Punitive Measures in the Wake of Xinjiang Police Files Release

With the release of the Xinjiang Police Files on Tuesday, the world has seen what Xinjiang’s “re-education” camps look like from inside official Chinese government databases: mugshots of thousands of faces, spreadsheets filled with personal data on detainees, and training guidelines  for guards, including “shoot to kill” directives in the event of a detainee escape. The photos and files have elicited a range of empathetic emotions from Uyghur communities in exile, Chinese netizens, and foreign governments, and an increased resolve for accountability. For the Chinese government, however, the...

Being confronted by each of those photos, each of those individual faces, left me heartbroken. To be living on the same soil as those who have been treated so cruelly and to be oblivious to their suffering, which was right in plain sight, makes me ashamed. Why do they have to be treated like that? I am full of rage, and helplessness."

— Comment from a Weibo user after seeing photos of Uyghur detainees contained in the "Xinjiang Police Files," a leaked trove of photographs and other corroborating evidence about the scale and brutality of detention camps in Xinjiang

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Translation: The Little Dictionary of Shanghai’s Fight Against the Pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has introduced a rash of new vocabulary into everyday life across the globe, but perhaps nowhere more so than in China, where the battle for “COVID zero” has spawned an epidemic of slogans. Political rallying cries and abstruse formulations are endemic to the Chinese Communist Party, which often communicates in a style nearly impenetrable to uninformed observers. The pandemic seems to have exacerbated the CCP’s predilection. Terms such as “spatial-temporal proximity,” “Baymax,” and “social clearance” are regularly employed by the media and used in daily life. But it...

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Canada Kicks Out Huawei, U.S. Weighs Further Sanctions on Hikvision, China Invests in Undermining Sanctions

On Thursday, the Canadian government announced that it will ban Chinese companies Huawei and ZTE from its 5G networks. The move comes as the Biden administration debates imposing further sanctions on Hikvision, a Chinese surveillance camera company, for supplying and operating equipment in Xinjiang mass detention camps. Both of these developments bring renewed attention to the role of Chinese technology companies in problematic surveillance activities and the role of sanctions in combating their alleged abuses. Catharine Tunney and Richard Raycraft from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation...

Heartbreak, Disinformation, and New Punitive Measures in the Wake of Xinjiang Police Files Release

With the release of the Xinjiang Police Files on Tuesday, the world has seen what Xinjiang’s “re-education” camps look like from inside official Chinese government databases: mugshots of thousands of faces, spreadsheets filled with personal data on detainees, and training guidelines  for guards, including “shoot to kill” directives in the event of a detainee escape. The photos and files have elicited a range of empathetic emotions from Uyghur communities in exile, Chinese netizens, and foreign governments, and an increased resolve for accountability. For the Chinese government, however, the...

Heartbreak, Disinformation, and New Punitive Measures in the Wake of Xinjiang Police Files Release

With the release of the Xinjiang Police Files on Tuesday, the world has seen what Xinjiang’s “re-education” camps look like from inside official Chinese government databases: mugshots of thousands of faces, spreadsheets filled with personal data on detainees, and training guidelines  for guards, including “shoot to kill” directives in the event of a detainee escape. The photos and files have elicited a range of empathetic emotions from Uyghur communities in exile, Chinese netizens, and foreign governments, and an increased resolve for accountability. For the Chinese government, however, the...

Heartbreak, Disinformation, and New Punitive Measures in the Wake of Xinjiang Police Files Release

With the release of the Xinjiang Police Files on Tuesday, the world has seen what Xinjiang’s “re-education” camps look like from inside official Chinese government databases: mugshots of thousands of faces, spreadsheets filled with personal data on detainees, and training guidelines  for guards, including “shoot to kill” directives in the event of a detainee escape. The photos and files have elicited a range of empathetic emotions from Uyghur communities in exile, Chinese netizens, and foreign governments, and an increased resolve for accountability. For the Chinese government, however, the...

Hong Kong National Security Police Arrest 90-Year-Old Cardinal Zen

Hong Kong national security police arrested Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun on Wednesday for alleged conspiracy to collude with foreign powers. Cardinal Zen is a 90-year-old former bishop and senior figure in Hong Kong’s democracy movement. He is reportedly in frail health. Zen was arrested for being a former trustee of the 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund, a group that provided protestors financial relief for legal troubles and medical needs. The organization disbanded last year after police launched a national security law investigation against it. Also arrested were three other trustees of the...

Canada Kicks Out Huawei, U.S. Weighs Further Sanctions on Hikvision, China Invests in Undermining Sanctions

On Thursday, the Canadian government announced that it will ban Chinese companies Huawei and ZTE from its 5G networks. The move comes as the Biden administration debates imposing further sanctions on Hikvision, a Chinese surveillance camera company, for supplying and operating equipment in Xinjiang mass detention camps. Both of these developments bring renewed attention to the role of Chinese technology companies in problematic surveillance activities and the role of sanctions in combating their alleged abuses. Catharine Tunney and Richard Raycraft from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation...

Interview: Laura Murphy on Forced Labor in Xinjiang

Evidence of human rights abuses against Uyghurs and other ethnic groups in Xinjiang has significantly increased over the past five years. As documented by researchers and human rights groups, the Chinese government has subjected members of these ethnic groups to widespread surveillance, arbitrary detention, torture, sexual violence, forced sterilization, forced labor, family separation, religious discrimination, and linguistic assimilation. The accumulated evidence is strong enough for various governments, human rights groups, independent experts, and the Uyghur Tribunal to have concluded...

Heartbreak, Disinformation, and New Punitive Measures in the Wake of Xinjiang Police Files Release

With the release of the Xinjiang Police Files on Tuesday, the world has seen what Xinjiang’s “re-education” camps look like from inside official Chinese government databases: mugshots of thousands of faces, spreadsheets filled with personal data on detainees, and training guidelines  for guards, including “shoot to kill” directives in the event of a detainee escape. The photos and files have elicited a range of empathetic emotions from Uyghur communities in exile, Chinese netizens, and foreign governments, and an increased resolve for accountability. For the Chinese government, however, the...

Translation: The Little Dictionary of Shanghai’s Fight Against the Pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has introduced a rash of new vocabulary into everyday life across the globe, but perhaps nowhere more so than in China, where the battle for “COVID zero” has spawned an epidemic of slogans. Political rallying cries and abstruse formulations are endemic to the Chinese Communist Party, which often communicates in a style nearly impenetrable to uninformed observers. The pandemic seems to have exacerbated the CCP’s predilection. Terms such as “spatial-temporal proximity,” “Baymax,” and “social clearance” are regularly employed by the media and used in daily life. But it...

Translation: The Little Dictionary of Shanghai’s Fight Against the Pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has introduced a rash of new vocabulary into everyday life across the globe, but perhaps nowhere more so than in China, where the battle for “COVID zero” has spawned an epidemic of slogans. Political rallying cries and abstruse formulations are endemic to the Chinese Communist Party, which often communicates in a style nearly impenetrable to uninformed observers. The pandemic seems to have exacerbated the CCP’s predilection. Terms such as “spatial-temporal proximity,” “Baymax,” and “social clearance” are regularly employed by the media and used in daily life. But it...

Heartbreak, Disinformation, and New Punitive Measures in the Wake of Xinjiang Police Files Release

With the release of the Xinjiang Police Files on Tuesday, the world has seen what Xinjiang’s “re-education” camps look like from inside official Chinese government databases: mugshots of thousands of faces, spreadsheets filled with personal data on detainees, and training guidelines  for guards, including “shoot to kill” directives in the event of a detainee escape. The photos and files have elicited a range of empathetic emotions from Uyghur communities in exile, Chinese netizens, and foreign governments, and an increased resolve for accountability. For the Chinese government, however, the...

Viral Videos on Food Shortages and Quarantine Conditions During Shanghai Lockdown

After conducting nucleic acid testing on its 26 million residents this week, Shanghai remains under lockdown. The metropolis has reported over 120,000 cases of COVID-19 thus far, most of them asymptomatic. Nationwide, an estimated 193 million Chinese citizens in 23 cities are currently under lockdown—areas that account for 13.6% of China’s GDP, according to Nomura brokerage. Residents confined to their homes are largely dependent on some combination of government deliveries, individual online purchases, and collective purchases of food and supplies, but quarantine zone restrictions, a...

Human Rights

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Heartbreak, Disinformation, and New Punitive Measures in the Wake of Xinjiang Police Files Release

With the release of the Xinjiang Police Files on Tuesday, the world has seen what Xinjiang’s “re-education” camps look like from inside official Chinese government databases: mugshots of thousands of faces, spreadsheets filled with personal data on detainees, and training guidelines  for guards, including “shoot to kill” directives in the event of a detainee escape. The photos and files have elicited a range of empathetic emotions from Uyghur communities in exile, Chinese netizens, and foreign governments, and an increased resolve for accountability. For the Chinese government, however, the...

Politics

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Luo Changping Sentenced As Party Warns of “Historical Nihilism”

Ex-journalist Luo Changping has been sentenced to seven months in prison for a Weibo post that questioned the wisdom of Chinese military strategy during the Korean War and mocked troops that froze to death. Luo was detained in October 2021 on charges of slandering martyrs, which was made a crime by the 2018 “Heroes and Martyrs Protection Act”. Luo will also “voluntarily” donate 80,000 yuan to the Memorial of the War to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea in Dandong, and will write public apologies to be published on Sina.com and in the Party newspapers Legal Daily and People’s Liberation Army...

Society

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Netizen Voices: China Tightens Restrictions on Passports and Outbound Travel Amid COVID

After nearly two and a half years of pandemic-related restrictions limiting inbound travel to China, the Chinese government is now increasing restrictions on outbound travel, as well. On Thursday, the National Immigration Administration stated that it would “strictly limit” unnecessary overseas travel by Chinese citizens. As COVID cases rise and dozens of Chinese cities remain at various levels of lockdown, the government is resorting to more drastic policy measures in an attempt to control the Omicron outbreak. Thomas Hale from Financial Times described the new announcement and its link to...

China & the World

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Netizen Voices: “Faced With This Kind of System, How Should a Sane Person Speak?”

On April 19, a nine-and-a-half minute audio recording of a phone call between a German resident in Shanghai and a translator working for the local neighborhood committee went viral on Chinese and overseas social media. The contentious call, between a German man identified as Ralf and an unnamed woman from the neighborhood committee, concerns an attempt by pandemic control personnel to get the man and his family to enter a centralized quarantine facility (referred to in the call as a “camp”) nearly two weeks after they initially tested positive for COVID-19. The man offers a variety of...

Law

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Heartbreak, Disinformation, and New Punitive Measures in the Wake of Xinjiang Police Files Release

With the release of the Xinjiang Police Files on Tuesday, the world has seen what Xinjiang’s “re-education” camps look like from inside official Chinese government databases: mugshots of thousands of faces, spreadsheets filled with personal data on detainees, and training guidelines  for guards, including “shoot to kill” directives in the event of a detainee escape. The photos and files have elicited a range of empathetic emotions from Uyghur communities in exile, Chinese netizens, and foreign governments, and an increased resolve for accountability. For the Chinese government, however, the...

Information Revolution

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Ask “Why?” On Weibo And You’ll Only Be Suspended Longer

Digital censorship in China, while algorithmic, vast, and multifarious, has a human element—which means the vagaries of individual censors’ moods have the potential to impact online punishments. Screenshots of one Weibo users’ tragicomic quest for an explanation for his account suspension, taken by the Weibo account @十只獭 and shared by the Twitter account @xijinpinggandie (in English, “Xi Jinping’s Adopted Daddy”), show how arbitrary censorship in China can be:  Weibo: Hello, your account will be suspended for 15 days because your recent post violated relevant national laws and regulations. ...

Culture & the Arts

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Peking University Protest Video: “First Tear Down the Wall!”

On the evening of May 15th, Peking University (PKU) students held an on-campus gathering to protest the school’s construction of a wall separating the Wanliu student dormitories from the faculty and staff areas. Protesters were upset that the school had erected the barricade without informing or consulting the student body, and concerned that it would lead to students being placed under stricter COVID-prevention measures than their professors or administrators. The student protesters put forward three demands: apply quarantine restrictions equally to anyone living on campus; tear down...

The Great Divide

Latest

Viral Videos on Food Shortages and Quarantine Conditions During Shanghai Lockdown

After conducting nucleic acid testing on its 26 million residents this week, Shanghai remains under lockdown. The metropolis has reported over 120,000 cases of COVID-19 thus far, most of them asymptomatic. Nationwide, an estimated 193 million Chinese citizens in 23 cities are currently under lockdown—areas that account for 13.6% of China’s GDP, according to Nomura brokerage. Residents confined to their homes are largely dependent on some combination of government deliveries, individual online purchases, and collective purchases of food and supplies, but quarantine zone restrictions, a...

Sci-Tech

Latest

Translation: The Little Dictionary of Shanghai’s Fight Against the Pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has introduced a rash of new vocabulary into everyday life across the globe, but perhaps nowhere more so than in China, where the battle for “COVID zero” has spawned an epidemic of slogans. Political rallying cries and abstruse formulations are endemic to the Chinese Communist Party, which often communicates in a style nearly impenetrable to uninformed observers. The pandemic seems to have exacerbated the CCP’s predilection. Terms such as “spatial-temporal proximity,” “Baymax,” and “social clearance” are regularly employed by the media and used in daily life. But it...

Environment

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New Report Documents Human Rights Abuses in China’s Global Fishing Practices

The Environmental Justice Foundation, an environmental NGO based in London, released a new report, titled “The Ever-Widening Net: Mapping the Scale, Nature and Corporate Structures of Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing by the Chinese Distant-Water Fleet.” Using data from the Chinese government, public records of illegal fishing, and interviews with over a hundred crew members aboard dozens of Chinese fishing vessels, the report provides a comprehensive analysis of environmental, animal and human rights abuses by China’s Distant-Water Fleet (DWF). With China under the spotlight due...

Hong Kong

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Hong Kong National Security Police Arrest 90-Year-Old Cardinal Zen

Hong Kong national security police arrested Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun on Wednesday for alleged conspiracy to collude with foreign powers. Cardinal Zen is a 90-year-old former bishop and senior figure in Hong Kong’s democracy movement. He is reportedly in frail health. Zen was arrested for being a former trustee of the 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund, a group that provided protestors financial relief for legal troubles and medical needs. The organization disbanded last year after police launched a national security law investigation against it. Also arrested were three other trustees of the...

Taiwan

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No End in Sight to China’s Prolonged, Opaque, Extralegal Detentions

While millions of Shanghai residents are locked in their homes due to pandemic-prevention and quarantine measures, other Chinese citizens are held in government detention on trumped-up political charges. A series of recent cases shines a light on the CCP’s continuing use of extrajudicial detention to silence dissenting voices. One such case involves a Chinese employee of the EU delegation to Beijing, An Dong, who was recently revealed to have been in custody since September 2021. Finbarr Bermingham from the South China Morning Post reported on An’s detention, allegedly for “picking quarrels...

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