Big Brother and big data at work in Xinjiang - SupChina
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Big Brother and big data at work in Xinjiang

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian, who covers China for Axios, was the lead reporter on an explosive leak of documents detailing the ongoing repression of Uyghurs and other Muslims in China’s Xinjiang Autonomous Region. This week, she joins Kaiser and Jeremy to discuss her report, titled Exposed: China’s Operating Manuals for Mass Internment and Arrest by Algorithm. The leaks include what she describes as a “manual for operating the camps,” and reveal how Chinese police are using big data to identify individuals deemed at risk for Islamic extremism or separatism in Xinjiang.

9:43: What do the leaks mean?

14:53: A timeline of events in Xinjiang

18:57: The “Integrated Joint Operations Platform”

24:50: The world’s highest-stakes “testing,” in Xinjiang camps

33:58: What can, and should, the U.S. do?

Recommendations:

Jeremy: One Long Night: A Global History of Concentration Camps, by Andrea Pitzer.

Bethany: The Origins of Totalitarianism, by Hannah Arendt, a look at totalitarian governments in the 20th century.

Kaiser: The December issue of The Atlantic, themed “How to Stop a Civil War.” With an emphasis on a few essays: The dark psychology of social networks, by Jonathan Haidt and Tobias Rose-Stockwell; Too much democracy is bad for democracy, by Jonathan Rauch and Ray La Raja; and The dishonesty of the abortion debate, by Caitlin Flanagan.

Kaiser Kuo

Kaiser Kuo is co-founder of the Sinica Podcast and editor-at-large of SupChina.

One Comment

  1. Adrian Scheffler Reply

    At first I liked this episode. I thought: finally we get to the meat and the potatoes of the xinjiang issue. But I was disappointed. This podcast is becoming basically a propagandacast. We know that China is a totalitarian country. But so is the US. The only difference is, they do a better job at it. Why wasnt the American media calling for sanctions against the USA when the NSA leaks happened? Or when Obama said he is good at killing people: https://www.businessinsider.com/obama-said-hes-really-good-at-killing-people-2013-11?IR=T
    Or when Iraq was invaded based on a lie?
    I guess the xinjiang camps are not a “rational policy response” to terrorism, but the Afghan invasion was?
    Millions of people died because of these US policies and all that was achieved was chaos. And there is no reckoning. The media elite got angry with Trump because he didnt want to throw even more bombs on syria.
    China throws people in jail for sending wrongthink via text message. The USA just kills you if you send them to the wrong people. The content isnt even important:
    https://www.nybooks.com/daily/2014/05/10/we-kill-people-based-metadata/
    Look at this, you guys are even proud of it:
    When I quoted Baker at a recent debate at Johns Hopkins University, my opponent, General Michael Hayden, former director of the NSA and the CIA, called Baker’s comment “absolutely correct,” and raised him one, asserting, “We kill people based on metadata.”

    The article “too much democracy is bad for democracy” could have also been written by a beijing official defending the appointment of Carrie Lam. Of course you need “professional vetting”, cant let the peasants decide.

    You will brush this comment of as wumao or russian bot, but I am a real person. :-)
    I have been listening to this podcast for 2 years and I liked it. But now I came to realize that there is not as much independent thinking going on as I thought.

    Why dont you take a step back and think about how this looks like from a distance? First, the US government tried to advance its interests by canceling the iran deal and defaming huawei as a security risk (lol google cisco backdoor) . Next, we get to hear a bunch of moralizing stuff about xinjiang as a new reason for sanctions.
    You dont care about muslims or the people in xinjiang. All you care about are American interests.

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