• China proposes ‘Global Initiative on Data Security’ forbidding stuff it and Huawei are accused of doing already • The Register

    Simon Sharwood, APAC Editor Bio Email Twitter

    China has proposed a “Global Initiative on Data Security” that it hopes the world will adopt to govern the collection and use of data by governments and the private sector alike.

    The code was revealed today in a speech by state councilor and foreign minister Wang Yi at an event called the International Seminar on Global Digital Governance. China has only ten state councilors and the body is analogous to the Cabinet in a democracy, which we mention to indicate that Yi has gravitas and authority – China did not assign the enunciation of this idea to a lowly functionary.

    Yi outlined an eight-point code that China hopes the world will adopt. The elements of the plan are:

    Approach data security with an objective and rational attitude, and maintain an open, secure and stable global supply chain.
    Oppose using ICT activities to impair other States’ critical infrastructure or steal important data.
    Take actions to prevent and put an end to activities that infringe upon personal information, oppose abusing ICT to conduct mass surveillance against other States or engage in unauthorized collection of personal information of other States.
    Ask companies to respect the laws of host countries, desist from coercing domestic companies into storing data generated and obtained overseas in one’s own territory.
    Respect the sovereignty, jurisdiction and governance of data of other States, avoid asking companies or individuals to provide data located in other States without the latter’s permission.
    Meet law enforcement needs for overseas data through judicial assistance or other appropriate channels.
    ICT products and services providers should not install backdoors in their products and services to illegally obtain user data.
    ICT companies should not seek illegitimate interests by taking advantage of users’ dependence on their products.

    Yi said the plan is needed because the world economy’s move to online activity has increased data security challenges that “ … have put national security, public interests and personal rights at stake, and posed new challenges to global digital governance.”

    The resulting inconsistent national laws “pushed up the compliance costs for global businesses,” he complained, before suggesting “To reduce the deficit in global digital governance, countries face a pressing need to step up communication and coordination, build up mutual trust and deepen cooperation with one another.”

    Some sections of Yi’s speech seem designed to address the allegation that Chinese firms are beholden to the nation’s government. “We have not and will not ask Chinese companies to transfer data overseas to the government in breach of other countries’ laws,” Yi said.

    “I hope the Chinese initiative will serve as a basis for international rules-making on data security and mark the start of a global process in this area,” Yi said. “We look forward to the participation of national governments, international organizations and all other stakeholders, and call on States to support the commitments laid out in the Initiative through bilateral or regional agreements. We are also open-minded to good ideas and suggestions from all sides.

    Some of Yi’s remarks will be well-received: his second point is close to the goals of the Global Commission on the Stability of Cyberspace (GCSC). But his sixth point, the call to “Meet law enforcement needs for overseas data through judicial assistance or other appropriate channels” is tricky given it could impinge on sovereignty.

    The call for an end to corporate espionage may also ring a little hollow, at least if western intelligence agencies are to be believed.

    At the time of writing The Register has not encountered any responses to China’s proposal. And of course anything said in the next 24 hours is irrelevant, as Yi’s call for regional or bilateral agreements to adopt China’s plan will require extensive negotiations.

    As did the China-USA no-hack-pact of 2015, which was quickly seen as not much more than tawdry security theatre as both nations continued to probe each other whenever deemed necessary and failed to prevent the Trump administration later creating its “Clean Network” plan on grounds that all of China’s technology companies represent a national security risk.


  • Thailand welcomes first tourists since March - Asia Times

    Thailand has welcomed its first group of tourists in seven months, as part of an experiment aimed at testing if a wider opening is possible as the coronavirus cripples the kingdom’s economy.A planeload of 39 Chinese tourists flew into Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport Tuesday evening from Shanghai to a welcome from staff in full protective equipment.
    The visitors underwent health checks and had their luggage disinfected, before donning protective clothing themselves and being whisked away for two weeks’ quarantine.“It’s a welcome sign that foreigners are confident in our safety measures,” Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said in a statement. “I instructed officials to take good care of the tourists, because if they’re safe, Thais are safe too.”


  • Mao Tse-tung : YÜ GUNG VERSETZT BERGE 愚公移山

    11. Juni 1945 - Diese Version aus: Mao Tse-tung, Ausgewählte Werke Band III, Verlag für fremdsprachige Literatur, Peking 1969, S.321-324

    Das ganze Volk muß überzeugt sein, daß China dem chinesischen Volk gehört und nicht den Reaktionären.

    Es gibt ein altes chinesisches Gleichnis, die Parabel „Yü Gung versetzt Berge“. Darin wird erzählt, daß in alten Zeiten im Norden Chinas ein Greis aus den Nördlichen Bergen namens Yü Gung ("Närrischer Greis") lebte. Den Weg, der von seiner Haustür nach Süden führte, versperrten zwei große Berge: der Taihang und der Wangwu.

    Yü Gung faßte den Entschluß, gemeinsam mit seinen Söhnen diese Berge mit Hacken abzutragen. Ein anderer Greis namens Dschi Sou ("Weiser Alter") lachte, als er sie sah, und meinte: „Ihr treibt aber wirklich Unfug; ihr paar Leute könnt doch unmöglich zwei solche riesigen Berge abtragen!“ Yü Gung antwortete ihm:

    „Sterbe ich, bleiben meine Kinder; sterben die Kinder, bleiben die Enkelkinder, und so werden sich die Generationen in einer endlosen Reihe ablösen. Diese Berge sind zwar hoch, aber sie können nicht mehr höher werden; um das, was wir abtragen, werden sie niedriger: Warum sollten wir sie da nicht abtragen können?“

    Nachdem Yü Gung mit diesen Worten die falsche Auffassung Dschi Sous widerlegt hatte, machte er sich daran - ohne auch nur im geringsten zu schwanken -, Tag für Tag die Berge abzutragen. Das rührte Gott, und er schickte zwei seiner Boten auf die Erde, die beide Berge auf dem Rücken davontrugen.’

    Gegenwärtig lasten ebenfalls zwei große Berge schwer auf dem chinesischen Volk. Der eine davon heißt Imperialismus, der andere Feudalismus. Die Kommunistische Partei Chinas ist schon längst entschlossen, diese beiden Berge abzutragen. Wir müssen unseren Entschluß beharrlich in die Tat umsetzen, wir müssen unermüdlich arbeiten, und wir werden Gott ebenfalls rühren.

    Und unser Gott ist niemand anders als die Volksmassen Chinas. Wenn sich das ganze Volk erhebt, mit uns gemeinsam diese Berge abzutragen, sollten wir sie da etwa nicht abtragen können?

    Yu Gong

    Yu Gong (chin.: 愚公 yú gōng; „Närrischer Alter“) ist die Hauptfigur einer chinesischen Parabel aus dem daoistischen Klassiker Liezi (4. Jh. n. Chr.[1]). Das Sprichwort „Yu Gong versetzt Berge“ (愚公移山 yú gōng yí shān) wurde später von Mao Zedong im Sinne des Kampfes gegen Imperialismus und Feudalismus umgedeutet.

    #Chine #taoisme #communisme

  • Coronavirus: China, Japan set to resume business travel; Manila cuts curfew hours | South China Morning Post

    Japan and China are expected to agree as early as this month on resuming travel by both short- and long-term businesspeople between the two countries, Japanese government sources said on Tuesday.
    The nations are looking to revive their coronavirus-hit economies, the world’s second and third largest, through a restart of two-way business travel. Some 9.59 million people visited Japan from China in 2019, including around 370,000 for business, both the largest numbers among all countries and regions, according to the Japan National Tourism Organisation.


  • Après le virus, Wuhan revient doucement à la vie - Libération

    Désormais tristement associée au Covid-19, la mégalopole tente d’attirer à nouveau les touristes chinois bloqués sur le territoire, notamment en rendant gratuits ses sites touristiques et en relâchant les contraintes sanitaires. Mais dans la ville d’où est parti le virus, le traumatisme reste profond.On entre à Wuhan comme dans un moulin. A l’aéroport international de Tianhe, deux gardes sont bien chargés de vérifier si les QR codes des passagers sont verts, la condition pour pouvoir passer, mais les hommes en uniforme semblent plus intéressés par leur propre smartphone que par celui des touristes qui se ruent de nouveau dans la capitale du Hubei, signe de la décontraction qui règne dans la mégalopole.Même relâchement dans les rues où 40 000 drapeaux chinois flottent dans le ciel en hommage aux 40 000 membres du personnel hospitalier qui ont afflué vers Wuhan au plus fort de l’épidémie cet hiver. Un fanion rouge et jaune est aussi accroché au rétroviseur d’un chauffeur de taxi, qui tombe le masque pour s’allumer une cigarette. « Vous êtes dans la ville la plus sûre du monde »


  • Hong Kong pushes health code to open up travel - Asia Times

    The Hong Kong government is pushing hard for the launch of a health code system that will let people travel in the Greater Bay Area without being quarantined. Chief Executive Carrie Lam told local newspapers she had explained to the central government that it was hard for Hong Kong to have zero local cases though the city had been successful in identifying imported cases. Whenever Hong Kong managed to control its epidemic, it could reopen its border with mainland China under certain conditions, which include the launch of a health code system, the use of negative test certificates and a cap on the number of travellers, Lam said.
    If Hong Kong could reopen its border with Guangdong, it would not be far to resume travel between the territory and Macau, she said, adding that she was closely monitoring the number of local infections every day.According to the mainland’s standard, a low-risk region refers to a province or city that has not recorded any local case for 14 consecutive days. A single case can make a place become a medium-risk region. The Center for Health Protection said Monday that a total of 15 cases were recorded, including 14 imported cases and one local infection, within the 24 hours on Sunday. The local case could be linked to previous cases. It was the third day Hong Kong has recorded no local infection with no known source. Between Friday and Saturday, 21 cases were identified, comprising 19 imported cases and two local cases with known sources.
    Three in four Hong Kong people hoped that they could be allowed to visit Macau and mainland China freely with a health code system as early as possible, according to a survey conducted by Youth Vision, a pro-Beijing activist group, which interviewed 1,780 people between October 8 and 12 over the Internet.Ben Chan, an advisor of Youth Vision and a lawmaker of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong, said people who had to travel between Hong Kong and mainland due to medical or family reasons had been seriously affected by the border closure this year. Chan urged the Hong Kong government to speed up its discussions with the central government about the launch of a health code system for the Greater Bay Area region. Chan also said it would be more urgent to reopen Hong Kong’s border with Macau, rather than forming a “travel bubble” with Singapore, as many Hong Kong people’s relatives were living in the nearby special administrative region.According to the Hong Kong Tourism Board, the number of visitors to Hong Kong amounted to 9,132 in September, down 99.7% from the same period last year. Last week, the Hong Kong government announced that Singapore and the territory had agreed to set up an “air travel bubble” that would allow people to travel between the two places with negative test certificates. Meanwhile, Sophia Chan, the Secretary for Food and Health, said in a radio program on Sunday that the government was seeking legal advice about requiring those who have mild illness symptoms to have mandatory virus tests.


  • Une exposition sur Gengis Khan au Musée d’histoire de Nantes censurée par la Chine

    Réalisée en partenariat avec le Musée de Mongolie intérieure à Hohhot, en Chine, qui dispose d’un riche fonds archéologique, artistique et cartographique sur ce sujet, elle avait pour ambition de mettre en lumière l’un des plus grands conquérants de l’histoire, né vers 1160 et mort en 1227, fondateur de l’Empire portant son nom. Deux cent vingt-cinq pièces, dont des sceaux impériaux et des objets en or des XIIIe et XIVe siècles jamais vus en France, devaient faire le voyage à Nantes.

    China insists Genghis Khan exhibit not use words ’Genghis Khan’ | China | The Guardian


    A French museum has postponed an exhibit about the Mongol emperor Genghis Khan citing interference by the Chinese government, which it accuses of trying to rewrite history.

    The Château des ducs de Bretagne history museum in the western city of Nantes said it was putting the show about the fearsome 13th century leader on hold for over three years.

    The museum’s director, Bertrand Guillet, said: “We made the decision to stop this production in the name of the human, scientific and ethical values that we defend.”

    #chine #Mongolie #roman_national #nationalisme #manipulation #histoire

  • Nantes. La Chine veut réécrire l’histoire, le château refuse
    Ouest-France Magali GRANDET. Publié le 13/10/2020

    C’est un travail de plusieurs années, mené par le château des ducs de Bretagne, à Nantes, qui vient de s’écrouler. L’équipe ne pensait pas en arriver là lorsqu’elle a commencé, en lien avec le musée de Hohhot (Mongolie intérieure), à travailler sur Gengis Khan.

    Né autour de 1160, ce personnage « a créé un des plus grands empires du monde, construit une paix relative, permis les connexions est-ouest, etc. Il était aussi d’une extrême tolérance religieuse, ce qui est assez rare. On voulait montrer ça aussi dans l’exposition », résume Bertrand Guillet, directeur du château de Nantes. D’abord repoussée au premier semestre 2021, l’exposition n’aura finalement jamais lieu sous sa forme initiale. https://www.ouest-france.fr/pays-de-la-loire/nantes-44000/nantes-la-chine-fait-pression-l-expo-gengis-kahn-annulee-7011381


    « Au départ, tout se déroulait correctement, d’autant que cette exposition avait été montrée il y a trois ans aux Pays-Bas… » Mais la situation s’est tendue au cours de l’été. « Elle s’explique par la répression en cours en Mongolie intérieure (1), dans un contexte de remise au pas politique », déploreBertrand Guillet.

    Le bureau du patrimoine à Pékin, qui délivre les autorisations de sortie des œuvres et objets, « l’un des derniers passages obligés », n’a pas goûté la version du projet nantais.

    « Cette exposition valorisait la culture et la diversité mongoles, ce qui va à l’encontre de ce que la Chine entend faire, appuie Bertrand Guillet. Elle veut éradiquer toutes les minorités qui ont pesé à un moment donné dans son histoire. On assiste à une révision politique des événements. »

    Dans un premier temps, « les autorités centrales chinoises » ont voulu « faire disparaître des éléments de vocabulaire, comme les mots Gengis Khan, empire et mongol ».


    Ensuite, elles ont souhaité modifier le contenu de l’exposition et « contrôler l’ensemble de nos productions, les textes, le catalogue et particulièrement les cartes géographiques », détaille Bertrand Guillet. Le nouveau synopsis proposé « rabaissait les Mongols à une ethnie mineure ».

    Intolérable pour l’équipe du château, qui a décidé d’annuler l’exposition, « au nom des valeurs humaines, scientifiques et déontologiques que nous défendons dans notre institution ».

    Mais elle va continuer à travailler autour du personnage de Gengis Kahn : « Un autre projet va être monté avec le musée d’histoire de Montréal. » Une autre exposition sera visible au château, en 2024 « avec des collections venues d’Allemagne, du Danemark, du Canada et des États-Unis ». Sans la Chine.

    (1) Dans cette région autonome du nord, où vivent plus de Mongols qu’en Mongolie indépendante, le Parti communiste chinois veut notamment imposer le mandarin dans l’enseignement.


  • Vaccine diplomacy : China, Indonesia agree to cooperate in fight against Covid-19 | South China Morning Post

    China and Indonesia have agreed to work more closely together to fight Covid-19 as Beijing on Friday sought to bolster ties with a regional neighbour through what some analysts are calling “vaccine diplomacy
    ”.Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told visiting Indonesian special envoy Luhut Binsar Panjaitan at a meeting in Kunming, the capital of southwest China’s Yunnan province, that vaccine programmes could provide a new focus for relations between Beijing and Jakarta. “China is willing to work with Indonesia on vaccine research, production and distribution, and support exchanges of relevant departments and medical institutes to help ensure access to affordable vaccines across the region and around the world,” Wang said.


  • Durant la « Golden Week », les Chinois restent raisonnables

    Des gares prises d’assaut, des centres commerciaux bondés… Les images de la « Golden Week » sont trompeuses. Alors que d’autres pays, notamment en Europe, limitent de nouveau les déplacements, la Chine, qui ne connaît quasiment plus de cas local de Covid-19 depuis mi-août, a rouvert les vannes du tourisme. On circule à nouveau à l’intérieur du pays sans restriction même si les contrôles de température restent systématiques dans les gares et les aéroports et encore fréquents à l’entrée des commerces. Malgré tout, les consommateurs chinois ne semblent pas avoir profité des huit jours de vacances qui leur ont été accordés – du 1er au 8 octobre − pour se lancer dans une consommation effrénée. Selon les chiffres publiés par le ministère de la culture et du tourisme dimanche 4 octobre, les Chinois ont été moins nombreux à partir : 425 millions contre 542 millions durant la même période de 2019, soit une baisse de 21,6 %. Selon les sites de réservation en ligne, les hôtels étaient loin d’afficher complet même à Pékin et Shanghai.
    Par ailleurs, la dépense par touriste a été inférieure de 12 %, selon les statistiques officielles. Résultat : le chiffre d’affaires global du tourisme a baissé de 31 % par rapport à 2019, pour atteindre environ 39 milliards d’euros durant la première moitié de la Golden Week. Des chiffres d’autant plus décevants qu’en raison des restrictions qui continuent de peser sur les voyages à l’étranger, les riches Chinois qui avaient pris l’habitude de quitter le pays quelques jours ont dû, cette année, y rester. A la fin d’un article vantant la reprise économique, le China Daily a malgré tout convenu, lundi 5 octobre, que les compagnies aériennes et les hôtels baissaient leurs prix pour les quatre derniers jours des vacances.
    Certes la situation est loin d’être désespérée et nombre de commerçants dans le monde aimeraient réaliser cette année un chiffre d’affaires comparable à celui de leurs homologues chinois. La Chine pourrait, selon l’OCDE, être le seul pays du G20 à afficher une croissance positive cette année. Mais, si la tendance se confirme, il semble bien que la consommation des Chinois, malgré les déclarations officielles, reste modérée. Parce qu’ils ont vu leurs revenus diminuer au premier trimestre ou parce qu’ils se méfient de ce que l’avenir leur réserve, les Chinois hésitent encore à dépenser. Si la croissance repart, c’est en grande partie dû aux dépenses publiques et à la relance des infrastructures. Dans tout le pays, les grues et les toupies à béton font des heures supplémentaires. Sur nombre de chantiers, les ouvriers n’ont d’ailleurs pas bénéficié de congés durant la Golden Week.


  • Post-Covid holidaymakers could form China’s next wave - Asia Times

    More than 600 million holidaymakers are said to be on the go across China, six days into the eight-day National Day Golden Week break that kicked off on October 1. This is the first national holiday since China swiftly subdued the coronavirus and squashed resurgences since April.This year’s Mid-Autumn Festival also fell on October 1. The double holiday has seen the middle class cut loose from work and Covid-19 blues and go on a travel and shopping binge after lockdowns and travel restrictions.The Ministry of Culture and Tourism estimated that half the population would travel during the festive period. It appears that Beijing’s deteriorating ties with Washington have not dampened the enthusiasm of the 80,000 daily visitors to Shanghai’s Disneyland. The 390-hectare fairyland that is among the largest Sino-US joint ventures constantly leads the chart of China’s top-10 tourist attractions during the long break compiled by travel booking portal Ctrip. The resort is the first Disneyland worldwide to emerge from Covid and resume welcoming visitors since May, when other Walt Disney Company properties across the US, Paris, Tokyo and Hong Kong remained shut and deserted. The park has since October 1 scrambled to enforce crowd management measures, including staggered admission as well as an online appointment system, part of its ad hoc measures to cope with surging patronage. The number of Disney fans that can be allowed in has been capped at two-thirds of the park’s capacity. And, apparently, the 665-yuan per person admission fee and overpriced food, drinks and souvenirs are considered worthwhile as people seek a magical, pick-me-up getaway.
    Mask-wearing and social-distancing rules are more often than not shunned inside the resort as Shanghai’s government has rolled back draconian anti-virus orders.
    Wuhan’s Yellow Cranes Tower, a landmark on a hilltop above the Yangtze that was built 1,500 years ago, is runner-up on the Ctrip list. Within four days of the break, an estimated 800,000 visitors flocked to the ground zero of the contagion. Bargain-hunting hordes are availing themselves of the free admission at many attractions in Wuhan and across Hubei province as local cadres seek to burnish Wuhan’s image and revive the battered economy after a 76-day lockdown. Other popular scenic spots that also made the list include Chengdu’s giant panda zoo, Wuhan’s Arctic Ocean Park, Guangzhou’s Canton Tower and wildlife zoo, Beijing’s Forbidden City and Yuanmingyuan Palace as well as Zhangjiajie Geopark in Hubei.
    Guangzhou’s South Railway Station, China’s largest high-speed rail transportation node, saw 430,000 daily passengers on October 1, an all-time high when residents streamed out of the megacity to resorts and theme parks elsewhere.


  • Trump’s Covid-19 antibody treatment was partly developed using Singaporean blood plasma | South China Morning Post

    Trump was discharged from hospital on Monday evening and in a video released shortly after he was ensconced in the White House said he was feeling better.Dr Jonathan Reiner, a professor of medicine at George Washington University, told CNN:“The president might be the only patient on the planet ever to receive this particular combination of medicines.”
    Indeed, REGN-COV2 has not received emergency use authorisation from the US Food and Drug Administration and the biotech firm said it had provided the drug in response to Trump’s doctors making a “compassionate use” request. Asian Science Magazine said convalescent plasma from patients who had recovered from Covid-19 could be used to prevent or treat the disease but even with the US Food and Drug Administration authorising the emergency use of convalescent plasma, the difficulty of obtaining sufficient blood from volunteers meant it was not possible to use it at a large scale.
    Instead, the Regeneron therapy clones antibodies from both “humanised” mice and recovered patients to produce a reliable source of monoclonal antibodies, reported the magazine.
    “While the humanised mice were based on a technology owned by Regeneron, the human plasma used was supplied through an agreement with Singapore’s National Centre for Infectious Diseases,” it added. Reports of antibody treatments in the works emerged in June, with most of them in labs across Asia, including Singapore, Japan, China and South Korea. Scientists explained that the treatment works by harvesting specific antibodies – produced by the body to fight off diseases when an individual catches a virus – to trigger other parts of the immune system to attack the cells containing the toxin.
    For Singapore, its defence research and development organisation DSO National Laboratories had announced in June that it had discovered five antibodies that could block the coronavirus and protect against key mutations, after scientists screened hundreds of thousands of cells that produce the antibodies.The country’s government-linked biomedical sciences institute A*Star is working with Japanese pharmaceutical company Chugai Group separately on similar treatments


    • Trump traité avec le médicament expérimental de Regeneron, la biotech tout proche de son record en Bourse

      Regeneron ne pouvait pas espérer meilleure publicité. Donald Trump, hospitalisé depuis vendredi soir au centre médical militaire Walter Reed, le Val-de-Grâce américain, a reçu trois traitements différents contre le Covid-19, dont celui expérimental de la biotech américaine. Son nom de code ? REGN-COV2. Puisqu’il n’a pas encore été validé par l’autorité sanitaire américaine, il n’en a pas encore reçu un de plus commercial. Mais le feu vert de la Food and Drug Administration (#FDA) ne devrait plus tarder. En tout cas, c’est le pari que fait la Bourse.

      Les actions Regeneron gagnent presque 10% ce lundi, revenant à 7% de leur record historique du 20 juillet, quand elles avaient fait une poussée à presque 665 dollars, ce qui valorisait alors l’entreprise à plus de 70 milliards de dollars (60 milliards d’euros, soit autant que Schneider Electric ou Air Liquide). C’est une « question de jours » avant que la biotech ne reçoive l’Emergency Use Authorization ou, en français, l’autorisation d’utilisation d’urgence, croit-on au sein de la banque d’investissement SVB Leerink.

      « Validation ultime »

      Après avoir été prescrit au président des Etats-Unis, le cocktail d’anticorps développé par Regeneron, en phase 3 d’essais cliniques, a reçu la « validation ultime », estime l’analyste Geoffrey Porges. Pour lui, Donald Trump « était en plus mauvais état que ce qui a d’abord était suggéré », sinon comment expliquer qu’il ait reçu un traitement pour lequel « il y a zéro information sur le risque d’intéractions négatives » entre le REGN-COV2, le remdesivir de Gilead Science et la dexaméthasone. A la connaissance de Geoffrey Porges, personne d’autre n’a été traité avec la combinaison de ces trois médicaments.

      Covid-19 : quel est ce traitement expérimental administré à Donald Trump ?

      Le médicament développé par Regeneron Pharmaceuticals est pourtant, déjà, l’un des plus prometteurs, ayant reçu 500 millions de dollars du gouvernement américain pour parfaire son produit, avant même que les tests cliniques soient terminés. Pour accélérer ce développement, Regeneron s’est associé à l’entreprise pharmaceutique suisse Roche, bien plus grosse, en août 2020.



      En théorie, le cocktail développé par Regeneron Pharmaceuticals parvient à neutraliser le virus dans un environnement de tubes de test. Il est composé d’un ensemble de clones d’anticorps créés contre le SARS-CoV-2, prélevés sur des humains ayant guéri du virus. La production de ces anticorps en dehors du corps humain passe par un clonage dans des cellules ovariennes de hamster chinois — un processus utilisé de longue date par la biologie médicale

      Une fois administré, le cocktail d’anticorps s’attaque à la surface de la protéine du coronavirus et tente de l’empêcher d’infecter d’autres cellules, comme le résume Science Mag. Il s’est donc montré extrêmement efficace pour aider les patients dans un groupe de test où leur charge virale était très élevée, mais leurs anticorps complètement absents. On parle donc de patients qui seraient tout juste contaminés par le coronavirus, pour lesquels on a amplifié la réponse immunitaire. Les tests n’ont pas permis de voir de grandes améliorations sur des patients un peu plus avancés, qui avaient déjà commencé à développer des anticorps.

    • Le médicament Covid utilisé pour traiter Trump a été testé sur des cellules fœtales

      Le président américain a vanté mercredi le traitement comme un « remède » contre le coronavirus. Mais son administration a réduit le financement du type de recherche qui a permis de tester le traitement par anticorps, une décision qui a été saluée par les militants pro-vie mais largement condamnée par les chercheurs scientifiques.

      Regeneron a déclaré jeudi : « Nous avons utilisé la lignée cellulaire HEK293T pour tester la capacité de nos anticorps à neutraliser le virus SARS-COV-2. »

      Il a ajouté : « HEK293T n’a pas été utilisé d’une autre manière et le tissu fœtal n’a pas été utilisé dans cette recherche. Nous n’avons pas utilisé de cellules souches humaines ou de cellules souches embryonnaires humaines dans le développement de REGN-COV2. »

      L’année dernière, le ministère de la Santé a décidé de restreindre le financement fédéral des études utilisant des tissus fœtaux, affirmant que toute recherche de ce type devrait être approuvée par un comité d’éthique avant de recevoir des fonds du gouvernement.

      Le département a déclaré à l’époque : « La promotion de la dignité de la vie humaine de la conception à la mort naturelle est l’une des toutes premières priorités de l’administration du président Trump. »

      Le changement de politique de l’année dernière n’aurait limité aucune recherche de Regeneron, car une exception a été accordée pour les travaux reposant sur des cellules prélevées sur des fœtus dans le passé.

      Un responsable de l’administration a déclaré : « Un produit fabriqué à partir de lignées cellulaires existantes qui existaient avant le 5 juin 2019 n’impliquerait pas la politique de l’administration sur l’utilisation de tissu foetal humain issu d’avortements électifs. »

      En août, le conseil a rejeté 13 des 14 propositions qui incluaient des tissus fœtaux, approuvant celle où le tissu avait déjà été acquis et qu’il ne serait plus nécessaire de compléter la recherche.

  • Chine-Iran : l’accord qui change la donne au Moyen-Orient ?

    Source : Russia Today France, Youtube  Dans ce nouvel épisode de La Source, Alain Juillet aborde le rapprochement entre la #Chine et l’#Iran qui pourrait déboucher sur une profonde modification de la géopolitique du #MoyenOrient. À travers des rappels historiques, l’ancien directeur de la haute intelligence économique explique les raisons pour lesquelles le pacte sino-iranien est une manœuvre économico-stratégique de très haute importance. Chiffré à 400 milliards de dollars, le projet sur 25 ans prévoit notamment des investissements massifs dans les secteurs pétrolier et gazier et de renforcer les zones de libre-échange autour de la route de la soie. Il permettrait également à la Chine de déployer ses équipements numériques dont la fameuse 5G et d’apporter un soutien technico-militaire aux Iraniens. Ce (...)

  • Open-source #satellite data to investigate #Xinjiang concentration camps

    The second part of this series discusses techniques on how to analyse a dire human rights situation in and around Xinjiang’s re-education and detention facilities.

    A pressing need to investigate characteristics of Xinjiang’s detention camps

    The story has been widely covered. Calls by human rights advocates to define China’s practices as ‘genocide’ grow louder. Hundreds of thousands of Uighurs, Kazakhs and other Muslims detained in internment camps. Many still are.

    “Inmates undergo months or years of indoctrination and interrogation aimed at transforming them into secular and loyal supporters of the party”, the New York Times wrote and published documents that unmistakably prove a dire human rights situation in the west of China.

    First China denied the camps ever existed. Then the Chinese consulate doesn’t bother anymore to play a smoke and mirror game and admits: “Xinjiang has set up vocational education and training centres in order to root out extreme thoughts…”. Their purpose: ‘compulsory programs for terrorist criminals’.

    Now, the language changed again. China’s President said the ‘strategy for governing Xinjiang in the new era is completely correct.’

    Unacceptable (and unwise) of some to deny it. Social media commentators, some who are frequently quoted by large media organisations, keep casting doubt on the tragic story. Margaret_Kimberley tweeted — after an ITV news report emerged — “These are lies. There is no evidence of Uighur concentration camps. More hybrid war against China” (it received 2,000 likes).

    While there is no room left to doubt that these camps do exist, there remains vast uncertainty whether investigative journalists and human rights advocates located all facilities spread out across the province.

    Researchers/journalists who made it their beat to find them, like Nathan Ruser at Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), says “we don’t believe that we have found them all”, after posting 380 facilities online.

    Germany’s chancellor last week said China’s President Xi offered delegates to send envoys to visit Xinjiang province [and camps] to see for themselves. Chances increase to see more of the so-called ‘show camps’ for a short period of time or as long as the visits take (the BBC encountered it when it visited last time). Xi also ensured that there will be an ‘ongoing human-rights dialogue’. But Ursula von der Leyen tweeted “a lot remains to be done .. in other chapters of our relations”.

    Satelite investigations exposing more and more evidence. OSINT journalists rely on them. It’s one reason why some open-source intelligence journalism colleagues keep hearing rumours that some of the camps may have moved underground (e.g. detention in under-surface facilities) to hide from the spying eyes and scrutiny of satellite data analysts (we don’t have proof for this thesis but I encourage you to reach out if you have evidence).
    Mounting number of facilities

    The number of confirmed facilities steadily grew. A 2018 BBC investigation looked at 101 campsites, which got pinpointed via various media reports and academic research, the author says.

    Most recently, Buzzfeed investigated 268 compounds, many from previous lists I worked on too. In February, the list of ‘confirmed re-education camps’, so lower-security sites, mainly for indoctrination purposes, was limited to mere 50 facilities. ‘Confirmed’ in this context means they have been validated by eye-witness reports. Back then, there were another 170 that had yet to be confirmed.

    It is of vital importance to keep this investigation rolling. This means to forensically document the changes in these camps and to spend more time on characterizing each detail. ASPI just dropped a new list and we are going to work with that one instead of the original 50 we received (the list can be downloaded here and geodata that can be simply dragged and dropped into QGIS and Google Earth Pro, it is available here).

    Finally, news broke via Reuters (and research by Adrian Zenz) that evidence of forced labour is mounting also in Tibet (we will look into this later, too).
    List of ‘expanded camps’ extended

    Earlier in the year US-based Uighure group ETNAM shared a list with around 50 confirmed sites. We and others scrutinised this list on increased activity on the ground via aggregated satellite remote sensing data (link). The list was shared as klm. file. It helped enormously with going through them one by one. All the coordinates as well as the Chinese names of the places are accessible via Google Earth Pro. Now that ASPI dropped a new list with coordinates and updated 2020 records, some of the work we have started can be extended and match.

    Because we are most interested in the camps that got expanded (so buildings or features were added), we will concentrate on the list of facilities that were developed. It includes a list of 61 sites.

    Why is the onus on expanded camps? In addition to the characteristics ASPI added as classifiers, the extended camps might tell us where the local administration invests and where forced labour in the firm of Uighur prisoners went. We added a few more details for each facility that we thought was worth looking at (see sheet above).
    We will go through various ways to characterise/investigate facilities and their surroundings

    First significant markers includes the size of the camps. That includes quantitative details such as the number of buildings on the premise and adjacent to it. We will go through how to compare them. There are the walls of camps that are usually quite straight-lined. Their height, which we will define and validate, and the walls’ thickness may tell us something about recent developments (e.g. how secure the sites are, or were meant to be).

    Guard towners are also a quantifiable element. ASPI and others counted them. Because they can be seen from outside they may act as a signal to local residents. That is also likely the reason why those facilities that have some or all of their towers removed recently tend to locate closer to residential buildings (see my stats below).

    These changes are further revealing as they may tell us something about how the local government in various parts of the region varied in their response to international pressure (or not, by keeping them in place). ‘A lot [camps] had their security features removed in the second half of 2019’, Zenz explained. Some remained in place (important to add here, it remains doubtful that conditions improved inside of the camps, even if towers or security features were removed).

    Zenz has an explanation for some of the changes: “On the same time they invited all these delegations and visitors, they released a lot of people. If you release a lot of people, you can afford to run with fewer security features. That can still be run like an internment camp, I’m sure”. We will look closer at what has changed ourselves.

    Including those features above, there are a number of other aspects to take into account. We put them into the list below — each will be discussed separately:

    What blue factory buildings in and around camps can tell us
    What typical ‘prison features’ tell us
    What cars in parking lots tell us about personnel working at the facilities during Covid-19
    What walls can tell us
    What guard towers can tell us
    What sports facilities can tell us
    What the shapes/types of buildings and location can tell us
    What agricultural space (e.g. fields) around the camps can tell us
    What potential crematory sites reveal
    What Xinjiang’s export tell us
    What population/urbanisation numbers tell us about internment and surveillance
    What Baidu maps can tell us

    Blue-roofed factory buildings

    In satellite images, they are very pronounced with their blue coating. They may also heat up in the summer.

    Most of them are factory buildings, has been reported. You can see them added in and around camp facilities, whether they are low or high security premises.

    We can quantify them by counting them or via quantifying the space they take up. ASPIT decided to count them, though some buildings are smaller and other are massive. Google Earth has a polygon area measuring tool. A third option is to write a statistical model to calculate square meters factory floor space. If you are lazy you can consult a service that helps you with that via a visual detection algorithm — it calculates the area and records the number of blue roof buildings for a given satellite image.

    One of the camps that expanded in the past two years is the tier 1 low-security re-education facility in Bugur in Bayingolu (41.808855284.3005783). It has a dense network of factory buildings nearby (around 23) and within its own walls there are eight. We used ASPI’s data to confirm this that noted: ‘considerable room for expansion’.

    Let’s run the classification system over it and classify how much blue-roofed buildings that scatter around the camp can we count (importantly not all are factory spaces but many will be).

    On the AI model: I downloaded the images with their highest resolution from Google Earth. To make the image a bit clearer for the model, I adjusted the brightness, upped the contrast and tinkered with the exposure. We can see the blue buildings, roughly in a radius of 1.5 to 2 miles (see image), account for about 1,464.9 m² (0.15ha). The number of little blue buildings expanded considerably since 2014 where they accounted for 1,022m2 (0.10 ha) — sadly we only have an image for 2014 and one for 2019.

    Short intersection on the availability of images available in Google Earth:

    Some of the important images to document the progression of these camps are missing. Some camps have a mere handful of publically available images (as in the case above). This is appalling and private satellite image companies need to be nudged to make more images public. Especially for the latest developments, this is urgently needed. Researchers noted down the latest dates for which images are available at the time of writing. Below we see them grouped by months, and then by facility category (tier 1 to 4).

    What about bias to provide fewer updates on higher-security facilities? We don’t have much to go in here (there is no direct evidence that western satellite companies are being pressured into not publishing their images for camps on Google). Despite only a few camps that didn’t get updated at all over the past two years, we can see at the time of writing that Google and others hold more images for lower tier facilities (1 and 2) than for higher-security facilities (tier 3 and 4):

    Continuing on the factories, another example is the facility in Maralbeshi County (39°49’7.84"N, 78°31’4.37"E). It was erected around 2017/2018. In Google Earth, you can see how the blue-roofed buildings surround the internment complex. Note, how the larger blue factory complexes to the left and right were there before the camp was erected.

    In other words, the camp was planned and embedded into existing factory operation. It further corroborates a thesis that factory work by prisoners (in the form of forced labour), was part of a grander plan all along (though, to be certain, looking at satellite images alone does not suffice).

    Adrain Zenz thinks blue roof factories is something that warrants looking into in more detail. A bunch of these blue roof factory building were erected in 2018, especially in the second half. Zenz explains it’s important timing because the policy documents on forced labour, as explained in his post from last December, shows that a lot of this kind of policy was released in the first half or mid of 2018.

    A recent Buzzfeed investigation did mention blue roofs but surprisingly didn’t pay more attention to the matter. The factories grow in importance as the forced labour of imprisoned groups is being increasingly ‘commercialised’.

    ASPI’s data recorded the distance (measured in km I assume) between the 380 facilitates and the local/nearest industrial parks — where some of the forced labour could have moved to put to work. The data categorizes facilities in four areas of security (ranging from Tier 1= re-education camp to Tier 4= prison facility). Tear two and tier three camps tend to be located more closely to the industrial centre of the towns, the data suggests (see chart below):

    Zenz adds: “what’s significant is the sudden increase of blue roof, single story, flat type factory buildings. It’s consistent with policy, and also release, the Karakax list also talks about people being released into forced labour. A lot of that took place in 2019.”

    The blue metal barracks found in Dabancheng shining light yellow in the sentinel IR images as they are being reflected. Low res Sentinel 2 data also suggests that these metal-like structures in the south of the Payzawat camp (Payzawat County, 39.538372, 76.713606) may also heat up in the summer. SWIR (short-wave infrared imagery) and NIR can be used for heat monitoring.

    Prisons features: camps that imprisoned people become more ‘secure’ not less:

    Among the around 60 camps that have expanded recently, half of it are tier 3 or tier 4 facilities —detention centers and prisons with high security features.

    While it is true that some camps removed some of the towers and other security features (labelled ‘desecuritisation’ by ASPI’s records), others increased theirs. Those happened to be facilities that are detention centres and prison. In the context that Chinese authorities moved prisoners to these more secure facilities with less transparency and harsher treatments, this is cause for concern.

    Let’s look at an example. From the list of expanded camps, there is the camps Yarkant Facility in the Kashgar prefecture (38.351531177.3055467). Since 2018, we saw a nearly 10,000 m2 large factory compound built (compare images from 5/8/2018 with 1/21/2018). Then, a year later, watch downers got added. There are now 8 towners. For such a small facility that’s quite conspicuous. The reason it’s a high-security prison facility.

    Newly built detention/prison facilities created between 2018 and 2020 are of special interest. Camps like the tier 3 (detention) camp of Sanji Facility (#3, 44.102764,86.9960751), a with several watchtowers and an external wall is important as we can follow the progression of each step of the building process with high-resolution images.

    The location was probably chosen because of a lower-security area nearby, north of the facility (3/7/2018). Building must have started in the summer. A couple of months after the last shot (8/11/2018) the blue-roofed factory gets built-in the north-west of the camp (a reason to assume a direct relationship there) and within two weeks in August the main building takes shape. At the same time, the walls get erected and we can make out the layout of the facility with its heavy concrete structures.

    We can see, those are fundamentally different from building built in other lower-security camps. Then two months later it’s almost completed.

    The speed of building is noteworthy (better trackable if we had access to a more continuous stream of images). From the few images we have above and those from Sentinel 2, below, we can assume that it took the developers between three to four months in pure building time to pull it up — an astonishing pace. China is renowned for its fast building pace. For many other areas, such as coal plants and artificial island-building its cookie-cutter approach — where blueprints are being re-used over and over again - it permits building more quickly.

    Other who looked at the situation in Xinjiang reported that many Uighurs held in lower-tier facilities could have been moved/transferred to higher-tier prisons. In other words, despite some re-education camps have experienced ‘de-securitisation’, half of the camps that expanded are higher security facilities, so tier 3 (detention) or tier 4 (prison) camp facilities.

    What parking lots tell us about the camps during Covid-19

    I believe this topic has largely remained unexplored. Busy parking lots are one way to tell how many staff members are on site. Especially interesting it this for the recent month that were affected by coronavirus. We dont know much about the conditions inside of the facilities.

    But with fewer staff members around (and fewer visitors allowed — previous reporting has revealed that detention centres have ‘small visitor centres’), the lives of inmates may have worsened. There was some reporting that Covid-19 cases spiralled in the province of Xinjiang and some expressed concern that cases could spread within camps. It’s possible, no doubt. With only a few cases in the whole region, though, the risk is lower.

    Pandemic related fears may have affected the material and food supply. Sick imprisoned detainees may go without healthcare treatment for weeks or months. All these are assumptions for which we have little evidence. But the possibility alone raises concerns. If it is true that prisoners remained in the facilities during Covid, they could have suffered from the absence of staff and proper care.

    From satellite images, it is hard to know — though there is some evidence from an eyewitness account shared by a historian, a Georgetown professor on his Medium page.

    We might be able to tell how many temporary people were on sites (those that use their car to leave for the night). Counting vehicles at nearby car parks is one way.

    At some facilities, we can clearly see the parking lot. An example is Ghulja City (43°58’37.52"N, 81° 8’18.98"E). It’s a fairly large car park. We can use Picterra system (there is a 10 day free trial version) to check the satellite images for May 23 — thought there isn’t much to count, the car park is empty.

    Seven months earlier, on October 24th of 2019, we count around 120 cars (with some false positives, but that’s good enough for us). The algo gives you a count so you don’t have to count the red boxes one by one. Once trained, we can run it on subsequent images.

    Let’s walk you through how to train and count the cars. I simplify here (a more complete tutorial can be found here and in their platform). First, we use one of the images to train the algorithm on the cars in the car park. Then we run it on the other pictures. It’s neat and simple (and quick if you don’t have time to run your own statistical model in python).

    The number of vehicles dropped during the heights of Covid-19.

    We could do this for other confirmed location such as the facility in Chochek City (Tǎchéng Shì, 46°43’3.79"N, 82°57’15.23"E) where car numbers dropped in April. We see this in many other facilities (for those that expanded).

    Hotan City Facility #1 (37.1117019, 79.9711546) with 81 cars in the parking lot at the end of 2019 dropped to 10 during the height of the pandemic. Similar developments have been perceived at Hotan County Facility 1 (37.2420734 79.8595074), Ghulja Facility 1 (43.9756437 81.5009539) and a number of others.
    Calculating rooms and capacity

    How many people fit in a facility. If we take the example of the re-education camp in Chochek City ( 46°43’3.79"N, 82°57’15.23"E), we have high res Google images for the end of March and end of April of 2020. We can see the thin middle part is three stories high and in earlier images (Jul 18, 19) we can see the southern part is four stories high. In 2018, we got an image of the foundation when it was built. This provides enough detail to calculate that the facility has around 367 rooms — for the total t-shaped building with the arms.



    In the example above, we shouldn’t be too sure that alls detainees were kept in the facility during Covid. Some reports claim that some of the other lower security re-education centres kept people ‘only during the day for indoctrination classes’ (it’s certainly different for the high-security prison facility that is also on the premise of the Payzawat facility, see in the south, with their towers).

    Comparing camp sizes

    The total size of the camps matters, especially when they get extended. Most of the camps have clear wall frames build around them. It’s one of the most important and simple characteristics. The wall frames makes it relatively easy to draw shapes in your geolocation system of choice (the sheer size of the walls, might be less ideal to gauge the number of prisoners).

    Some have vast empty space in between might suggest that other faculty sections or factory buildings are due to be added. Some are cramped with building.

    Tracing and calculating the area of wall frames in Google Earth for some of the largest camps, we get what we already knew:

    To emulate the work ASPI’s data was posted here. A number of track and trace tutorials for Google Earth (one here on measuring property space) are available on YouTube.
    Staking out camp size:

    The Qariqash County/قاراقاش ناھىيىسى‎ /墨玉县(Mòyù Xiàn, 37° 6’44.88"N, 79°38’32.71"E) sits in the South of the large stretch of desert.

    We use the polygon tool in Google Earth to stake out the clearly marked walls. You usually end up with a rectangle. Under measurements (right-click on the item) you can see the perimeter is around 1.65 km and the area is roughly 16.7 hectares (0.17 square km).

    Now we can compare it with another one on the list, the camp in Aqsu City (41°11’27.12"N, 80°16’25.08"E). It’s markedly smaller, with a perimeter of 1.1km and only an area of 5.65 hectares. There are other ways to do this in QGIS, a geoinformation system more efficiently.
    What can walls and towers tell us?

    How tall are walls at some of the camps? The answer varies across the vast variety of facilities. Height may tell us something about who built the camp and the level of security. It’s unsurprising to find different heights at different camps built by different planners.

    Where we don’t have shades available, we can check the two images above and reference them with the people in the image and define the height this way. Another standard way to calculate height is using the shades by the walls and towers and calculate the height via Google Earth and SunCalc.

    The shade of the southern wall in the satellite image from 03/19/2020 for the Dabancheng camp is around 7.62 meters long. The towers on the southern wall for those dates result in a height of around ~8meters.

    But the images in the Reuters shots look different. That’s why they were taken a year or two earlier. Satellite images from 4/22/2018 show clearly the octagonal shapes of the tower shades. If we calculate again, the shade of the tower is around 9 meters long, translating into around 14 meters in height.

    We do this for the wall as well. What we find is that, although the towers disappeared (though, some are still there, just not protruding so visibly), the only thing that really changed is the height of the walls — now around 13.5m tall, compared with 9.5m in 2018. The same towners, removed from one Dabancheng camp, then re-emerged half a kilometre south-east at the other newly built one (2019).

    Why are we even bothering measuring height? On one hand we want to answer how security changed across the camps. Are walls getting higher? Do they change in their layout. It helps to classify the type of camps. The higher the walls, the more secure they probably were meant to be. Higher wall might mean higher chance that prisoners are held at facilities over night. It also may help to disprove claims by XJ denialists.

    We can verify the Suncalc analysis with images. Cherchen County, for which we reviewed images for 12/14/19 shows roughly the same height. Explainer how to measure the height of an object from satellite image available here and here.

    The number of press images of the camps is limited. Most are by Reuters or AFP/Badung Police. It is this one here (37°14’29.78"N, 79°51’35.00"E). More local street footage, though not of camps, might be obtainable via Mapillary.

    Buildings shapes/outlines and location of camps

    Let’s start with the location of the facilities first. ASPI recorded the type of security for its 380 odd facilities, and for many the distance to populated areas such as residential buildings. When local administration planned on where to place the facilities they might have taken into account how the neighbouring public should (or shouldn’t) perceived them. More secluded camps are more hidden from public scrutiny. Those near people’s homes or schools may be placed there to have the opposite effect.

    What’s immediately apparent when running a few inferential statistics on the records is that the more secure detention centres tend to be kept further away from buzzing residential areas — meaning, further away than for instance Tier 1 re-education camps, which are often nestled between residential parts of cities, or occupying old schools.

    Agriculture/fields around the camps — investigating forced labour by detainees

    Identifying agricultural fields near or around facilities may reveal some potential aspects of how forced labour in the camps were used in close vicinity.

    Especially for secluded faculties, with not much else urban life going on (so reducing the possibility that other local farmers were involved in working the them), the chance increases that Uighurs detained were used.

    One example is the facility near Yingye’ercun, in Gulja, with a 0.16km2 large campground (43°58’37.52"N, 81° 8’18.98"E). The farming area that was developed since 2018 (shortly after the multistorey buildings was built in the core of the facility) spans 1.7km2 and is clearly marked (which includes the facility itself, see in red below).

    In other words, once the camp was built the fields surrounding it got worked and developed— unlikely to be only a convenient coincident. The nearby factory complex was also extended.

    Often it warrant also checking with Sentinel 2 images on EO browser. In this case, it’s useful because it allows us to visualise agricultural development via its invisible light remote sensing capabilities. Additional bands (which Google images lack) give access to the invisible spectrum and shows the agricultural expansion (here shown in red via the false colour composite, commonly used to assess plant density and health, “since plants reflect near-infrared and green light, while they absorb red”. Exposed ground are grey or tan, vegetation is red).
    Image for post

    Another camp in this regard is the Maralbeshi Facility (#6) in Kashgar (39.7406222 78.0115086) with lots of fields surrounding it.

    Why is the forced labour aspect in Xinjiang’s agriculture so important in this debate? For one, it’s part of the human rights abuse that more and more governments and industry leaders recognise (such as Swedish company H&M, who profited from cotton supplies and other kinds within their supply chain). Some decided to cut ties with suppliers in the region. It may the answer for the short term. In the long run, western businesses much apply pressure to get suppliers on their own to dissuade local forced labour practices (see example on ads that emerged to sell Uighur forced labour online).

    According to the ILO Forced Labour Convention from 1930, forced or compulsory labour is defined as ‘all work or service which is exacted from any person under the threat of a penalty and for which the person has not offered himself or herself voluntarily’.
    Sports grounds: (basketball and other sports courts)

    Some found value in observing their development. BBC’s John Sudworth found that just before a press tour organised for his press teams two years ago the appearance of recreational areas altered. In some of the places they were taken to, satellite images and the internal security fencing — and what looked like watchtowers- where taken down shortly before the tours for journalists began. Specifically on sports grounds, they noticed that empty exercise yards have been transformed into sports facilities.

    The reporters asked: if the journalists have been presented with mere ‘show camps’, what may this say about the places they were not taken to. Sport facilities are quite easy to spot from satellite. The BBC travelled to Kaxgar in the very east of the region, about 100km south of Kazakhstan’s border. Their footages shows how the camp put up courts shortly before the press trip. But they didn’t last long. We found evidence that these very courts disappeared again in early 2020 (see below).

    In one of the camps in Qariqash (37°15’32.54"N, 79°44’52.08"E) the sports facilities were made unavailable as recently as July. Now big brown sheets, what looks like blankets with knobs on them, cover them. Those have never appeared on satellite images before and extend to the soccer field in the north and the big parking lot next to the sports courts.

    I have mixed feelings about recreational activities. We must strongly doubt that they benefit people held for indoctrination. So are they only a smoke and mirror game to show the friendliness of re-educational camps? Or are they actually benefiting the imprisoned? It is hard to say. In recent time, they are more likely to be added than removed. In around 37 facilities on the ASPI list basketball courts, running tracks or other sports fields were noted to have been added or extended.

    When we compare the average distance of residential building for these places (1.2km) with the average distance of all the places where we have a record on the distance to buildings (1.8km), we find the recreational activities might be used as an element to signal the locals that the facilities have those recreational features.

    Dabancheng has one court in the western block and a number of other ones in the centre part. In the eastern wing, there is nothing. We haven’t got any further high res satellite images on Dabancheng (other than those until March 2020, that leaves only checking Sentinel 2 images or commercial images).

    I am going to stop here. The analysis of recreational areas yielded rather little, for me and the folks at ASPI. “I don’t think the sports grounds mean much in the detention regime”, Nathan Ruser says. If you have more info do reach out or leave a comment.

    The New York Times followed the lead of findings (that emerged last year, also mentioned in the state.gov report) and check the extent of description of religious sites and burial grounds. In September, the team reported that ‘thousands of religious sites’, such as mosques, shrines and other sites were bulldozed or replaced.

    As many burial grounds disappeared and people within camps families have never heard from again, the question of how Uighurs’ life proceeded became more pressing. Crematories may be one aspect. Some anecdotal evidence by a source spoke of a nascent growth of crematory sites in the areas near camps. This appears important in the context of how prisoners are treated in facilities and what happens if they die and at what rates.

    High prevalence of tuberculosis in facilities worries insiders. TB is spread via droplets through the air by someone who is infected. It’s especially deadly when the immune system of those who caught it, can’t cope with it. With the conditions reported by some of the eyewitnesses, it is feasible that the hard conditions prisoners are being subjected to, could enhance the deadliness of TB.

    The think tank which produced a previous list of facilities searched and found a handful of crematories (I don’t think they concluded the research and it continues, perhaps with your help of OSINT research).

    The reason why crematories are of interest is that Uighur are Muslim, Muslims don’t burn the bodies of their dead. They bury them (creation is strictly forbidden). Seeing more crematories pop up might be a first clue on whether dead bodies from detention facilities are being burned. We have to stress here, we have to be extremely careful with drawing quick conclusions, the base of evidence is thin. One would need to check local statistics and cross-examine them with other data source.

    We will concentrate only on the sites itself. The ‘unconfirmed sample of crematory’ consists of ten sites. These are listed below. Just a word of warning. Feel free to investigate them further — either via additional satellite footage or on-site visits. Nonetheless, these get us started. The first three are confirmed by eyewitness accounts or local records (as far as I was told, this is sadly only secondary research).

    Cr_Gholja_01 (Existed, 44° 0’17.86"N, 81°13’40.43"E); Cr_Artush_01(Existed, 39°44’35.47"N, 76°12’7.49"E); Urumchi 2 Funeral Parlor (Existed, 43°54’55.20"N; 87°36’9.01"E)

    Cr_Artush_02 (Suspected)
    Cr_Urumqi_02 (Suspected)
    Cr_Urumqi_01 (Suspected)
    CrArtush_02 (Suspected)

    Now let’s take a look at the characteristics of the confirmed crematories. They have some distinctive shapes, including a rectangular architecture, walls or a treeline that fence the premises (framed in black). Where marked ‘burial grounds’, I was unable to confirm this but checked with a few other sites mentioned in the coverage that was exposed in 2019 and it looked similar (in short, more time needs to be spent on this).

    What helped the researchers identify the confirmed ones? According to the source, the Chinese called them ‘burial management facilities’. It’s apparently a euphuism for ‘crematories’. The Chinese government bulldozed some burial grounds with the justification that they would take up too much space which was covered in the 2019 reporting.

    The other aspect is whether relatives receive the body of loved ones that die in the camps. Salih Hudayar (now Prime Minister of the East Turkistan Government-in-Exile) says he had a relative who died in a facility (he don’t know whether in the camps or the prison) and his family was not able to have his body returned. He thinks that many other Uighurs have not had the body of a deceased family members returned to them. He assumes they are being cremated as no record exists of a burial site.

    More crematories are only possible if you have employees who staff and run them. The Chinese government tried to find those employees online. “We assume they are being cremated because the government ran job ads and offering high salaries to work on these [crematory] sites”, he added.

    The suspected crematory facilities were then modelled upon the layout of the existing/confirmed ones — e.g. compared with buildings in and around the area. “We found a couple, but we are not 100% sure”, the source admits. Here OSINT journalists could become useful (let me know if you have intel on this matter to follow up with).

    On the description in 2019: evidence surfaced that 45 Uighur cemeteries have been destroyed since 2014, including 30 in just the past two years (research was carried out by AFP and satellite imagery by Earthrise Alliance, here reported by the SCMP).
    What population/urbanisation numbers tell us about internment

    Salih Hudayar explained that what worries him is that population statistics don’t square. An often-cited figure of 7 million Uighurs in the province is much lower than the official estimates of the Uighur people.

    The number often used is 12 million Turkic-speaking Muslim Uighurs. The number could be higher. Especially in the villages — Uighurs are allowed to have only three kids — some families have more than that and don’t register their offspring, as a result, many kids lack birth certificates. Other figures on the number of Uighur population is much taller (larger than twice of the 12 million figure, but remains hard to confirm that. The closes figure the Chinese government will have internally after the government’s extensive and invasive security and surveillance campaigns, in part to gain information regarding individuals’ religious adherence and practices).

    The rising number of orphanages and kindergartens is also of interest. A satellite and local administrative data analysis should track them. The premise here: the more aggressive the detention of families are in XJ (moving Uighurs from low to higher security facilities), demand for places that house children increases. More orphanages and child-caring facilities could be revealed.
    What can exports tell us about forced labour?

    The type of exports of a region can help to figures out what to look for when it comes to forced labour. Increasingly, the international textile and fashion industry wakes up to reputational damage if supply chains incorporate Xinjiang forced labour. EU leaders held a meeting with China’s president Xi last week where Xi ‘rejected’ foreign [political] meddling in his nation’s affairs. But businesses have more leverage. Xinjiang is busy trading with foreign powers. The Chinese province accounted for a large part of the world’s supply in cotton. Exports amounted to $19.3bn according to export documents (export data for the west of China can be found in China’s official data stats, Stats.gov.cn, customs.gov.cn, or mofcom — this might be useful. Comparing what the government reports and what’s happening on the ground might reveal discrepancies, as it did before).

    Exports (to Europe, across the silk road to the west) is directly connected at A busy train station connecting to the neighbouring country of Kazakstan in the northeast (the export route is called Ala Pass. A short promotional video here). Given the rebound of the Chinese economy, the shipments/trainloads must have increased in May after the effects of the pandemic subsided. What’s unclear is to what extent and whether that matches what the government said.

    Satellite images might reveal discrepancies when train containers at the Dzungarian Gate (the Dzungarian Alatau mountain range along the border between Kazakhstan and the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region) are analysed. It’s the main connection between China and the west.

    The main railway station in Xinjiang for the Alataw pass is the Alashankou railway station (situated here: 45°10′13″N 82°34′13″E). It’s the last resort for export containers before entering Kazakhstan.

    OSINT journalists may be able to gauge Xinjiang export traffic by counting the number of containers on rail tracks. It might be laborious effort, not sure if it yields anything.

    More useful would it be to monitor the use of agriculture and factories in the nearby vicinity of camps, as shown before. Or perhaps they can be linked up.
    Baidu maps: Checking what the Chinese tech companies are ‘hiding’:

    The Chinese government may have little interest to showcase their human-rights violations which they deem as justified (Xi’s statement). Satellite images on Baidu Maps show maps that hide most of the facility. What to make of it? Google Earth lets you upload so-called ‘overlays’. If you stretch them to the right size you can compare the uploaded screenshot (we took from Baidu) with those present in Google Earth. For Tumshuq City/تۇمشۇق شەھىرى/图木舒克市(Túmùshūkè Shì) (39°54’40.02"N, 79° 1’26.09"E), see below.

    Why is Baidu’s involvement increasing relevant? On one hand, it is important to see the connection between private sector companies and the government. Chinese satellites are able to update and provide high-resolution images to the maps on Baidu. But they don’t. We had a similar debate on Twitter, that some government used to press companies to blur our images. But because images are available on other platforms ‘unblurred’, the practice was largely discontinued (there are still examples but they are getting fewer). One reason is that if a blurred area appears, it signals others to be extra vigilant and look out for other images. Instead, what increasing happens is that companies with private satellite are ordered not to release them (read more about the debate here).

    Baidu map’s decision to not show images on certain facilities have backfired. It can be reverse-engineered. Areas where images are unavailable became extra interesting. In this way Buzzfeed used Baidu Maps to their advantage. They located/confirmed some of the camps because of it. This way, they turned shortcoming into an opportunity. You may want to be quick in replicating this principle for other parts of the country where forced labour/detention camps are expected (e.g. Tibet). Such loopholes will usually be fixed swiftly.

    Bit more on the tech. According to a 2019 report by Human Rights Watch, Baidu’s map function used in the IJOP app, a controversial system used by the police and the state that generates “a massive dataset of personal information, and of police behaviour and movements in Xinjiang (it is not known how the authorities plan to use such data): The IJOP app logs the police officer’s GPS locations and other identifying information when they submit information to the IJOP app. The IJOP app uses a map functionality by Baidu, a major Chinese technology company, for purposes including planning the shortest route for police vehicle and officers on foot, according to the app’s source code.

    What can the camps in Tibet tell us about the camps in Xinjiang?

    Reuters reported just last week that forced labour expanded to Tibet (south of XJ). Reuter’s own reporting corroborated the findings obtained by Adrian Zenz. It would take another post to go into how to investigate the state of transferred Tibetan labourers. The quick and dirty check on the situation shows the merit of using satellite images to investigate grows as foreign journalists are being barred from areas, such as entering the Tibet region (foreign citizens are only permitted on government-approved tours). OSINT lessons from investigating XJ should be applied to Tibet too.

    How does Xinjiang link to Tibet? The former Tibet Communist Party Secretary Chen Quanguo was chosen for the same job in Xinjiang in 2016 and headed the development of Xinjiang’s camp system, Reuters reported.

    Mass incarceration started before Quanguo came onto the scene: A fanghuiju work team was dispatched to a village in Guma wherein 38 individuals were allegedly detained in a government campaign, in early 2016 — it’s true however that Party Secretary Quanguo, appointed in August 2016, who waged a ‘Strike Hard Campaign’ against violent activities and terrorism increased repression.

    In an article last year, The Print used satellite images to prove that at least three Tibetan “re-education camps” are currently under construction. The author of the survey was Vinayak Bha, an ex-colonel retired from the Indian military intelligence unit.

    Col Vinayak Bhat (@rajfortyseven on Twitter) found three camps in 2018/2019 and share them. One of them is the one in Botuocun (see below). Bha writes about Chinese military deployment dynamics. The temple of Tibetan Buddhism is a ‘concentration camp’ that is surrounded by high walls and guard towers and has the same structural design as a prison. It is feasible that China’s mass detention to spread to Tibetans. Methods will likely base on the model executed in XJ.


    The reports of the three camps emerged in 2019. “Small-scale versions of similar military-style training initiatives have existed in the region for over a decade, but construction of new facilities increased sharply in 2016, and recent policy documents call for more investment in such sites”, one report stated. Looking at the three sites, some of them are quite old but the one below is less than three years old.

    The allegation is that these facilities are now be used as detention centres for political indoctrination. “The detainees are allegedly used as forced labour in government factories and projects during the day time or as per shift timings”. It is something that rings true under the light of camps in Xinjiang but we lack evidence from the satellite images.

    There is some evidence that additional factory buildings were added. For the facility above, buildings in the upper east wing, with red roofing was added recently. Their layout reminds us of the blue-roofed buildings in and scattered around Xinjiang facilities, which we also have present: “This architecture is bang on a XJ prison, [though] with a different style roof”, Ruser said.



    The prison layout from the older prison facility above — with its long and vertically arranged wings and the rippled features — is similar to prisons seen in Xinjian, such as the two portrayed below (one at Qariqash County at 37° 6’44.88"N, 79°38’32.71"E and the other facility in 39°25’54.60”N, 76° 3’20.59"E).

    Closing remarks:

    There is a mountain of stuff not included here. This is a training post and not an investigation with full-rested conclusion. This post should encourage other open-source investigative journalists to look into the facilities, follow their own reporting and help monitor developments/details that others may have missed.

    At present there are only a handful of OSINT journalists looking into it. Even fewer have the time to continuously keep this rolling, e.g. analysing the camps as other stories press them to move on.

    We need more eyes on this. The alleged human right abuse must receive all the international scrutiny it can get. People like Shawn Zhang and others with Nathan Ruser and APSI) started the journey. Other journalists must continue and expand on it.

    Also, the more open we are about sources and the analysis (hopefully) the fewer people might try to cast doubt on the existence of the camps (good thread here)

    OSINT techniques used must master the skill to help others to replicate the findings, step by step. That’s the reason this post resulted more in a hands-on tutorial than an explanatory post. I encourage anyone to start looking into the human rights abuse (though, I must stress, be careful to draw quick conclusions. Instead, share what you see on satellite images with the community of serious journalists and OSINT investigators).

    One last thought on commercial satellite imagery companies. It is crucial to get their support on this. For more than 100 camps mentioned in the latest update of the ASPI list (nearly 80 of them high-security detention facilities — classified as tier 3 or 4), we have no updated record of satellite images. This leaves researchers and journalists only to low-resolution devices, by Sentinel 2 images, or beg for images from Maxar or Planet Labs. That’s not good enough. Transparency requires companies inc to make those high-resolution images available, to anyone. Intelligence services should also consider making their high-resolution images available to the public for scrutiny, though, that unlikely to happen.

    #camps_de_concentration #architecture_forensique #images_satellitaires #rééducation #ré-éducation #camps_de_rééducation #Chine #droits_humains #droits_fondamentaux #Tibet

    ping @reka @isskein @visionscarto

  • BBC Two - Newsnight, Uighurs in Exile : Arrested and deported back to China

    Newsnight reveals Uighurs in the Middle East have been targeted by nations including Saudi Arabia, in apparent cooperation with China’s notorious crackdown on the ethnic minority.

    Hassina Mechaï sur Twitter :

    « (L’#Arabie_saoudite, les #Émirats_arabes_unis et l’Égypte ont arrêté des musulmans #ouïghours exilés et les ont expulsés vers la #Chine en collaboration avec Pékin). » / Twitter

  • Xinjiang’s System of Militarized Vocational Training Comes to #Tibet

    Introduction and Summary

    In 2019 and 2020, the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) introduced new policies to promote the systematic, centralized, and large-scale training and transfer of “rural surplus laborers” to other parts of the TAR, as well as to other provinces of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). In the first 7 months of 2020, the region had trained over half a million rural surplus laborers through this policy. This scheme encompasses Tibetans of all ages, covers the entire region, and is distinct from the coercive vocational training of secondary students and young adults reported by exile Tibetans (RFA, October 29, 2019).

    The labor transfer policy mandates that pastoralists and farmers are to be subjected to centralized “military-style” (军旅式, junlüshi) vocational training, which aims to reform “backward thinking” and includes training in “work discipline,” law, and the Chinese language. Examples from the TAR’s Chamdo region indicate that the militarized training regimen is supervised by People’s Armed Police drill sergeants, and training photos published by state media show Tibetan trainees dressed in military fatigues (see accompanying images).

    Poverty alleviation reports bluntly say that the state must “stop raising up lazy people.” Documents state that the “strict military-style management” of the vocational training process “strengthens [the Tibetans’] weak work discipline” and reforms their “backward thinking.” Tibetans are to be transformed from “[being] unwilling to move” to becoming willing to participate, a process that requires “diluting the negative influence of religion.” This is aided by a worrisome new scheme that “encourages” Tibetans to hand over their land and herds to government-run cooperatives, turning them into wage laborers.

    An order-oriented, batch-style matching and training mechanism trains laborers based on company needs. Training, matching and delivery of workers to their work destination takes place in a centralized fashion. Recruitments rely, among other things, on village-based work teams, an intrusive social control mechanism pioneered in the TAR by Chen Quanguo (陈全国), and later used in Xinjiang to identify Uyghurs who should be sent to internment camps (China Brief, September 21, 2017). Key policy documents state that cadres who fail to achieve the mandated quotas are subject to “strict rewards and punishments” (严格奖惩措施, yange jiangcheng cuoshi). The goal of the scheme is to achieve Xi Jinping’s signature goal of eradicating absolute poverty by increasing rural disposable incomes. This means that Tibetan nomads and farmers must change their livelihoods so that they earn a measurable cash income, and can therefore be declared “poverty-free.”

    This draconian scheme shows a disturbing number of close similarities to the system of coercive vocational training and labor transfer established in Xinjiang. The fact that Tibet and Xinjiang share many of the same social control and securitization mechanisms—in each case introduced under administrations directed by Chen Quanguo—renders the adaptation of one region’s scheme to the other particularly straightforward.

    Historical Context

    As early as 2005, the TAR had a small-scale rural surplus labor training and employment initiative for pastoralists and farmers in Lhasa (Sina, May 13, 2005). The 11th Five-Year Plan (2006-2010) then specified that this type of training and labor transfer was to be conducted throughout the TAR (PRC Government, February 8, 2006). From 2012, the Chamdo region initiated a “military-style training for surplus labor force transfer for pastoral and agricultural regions” (农牧区富余劳动力转移就业军旅式培训, nongmuqu fuyu laodongli zhuanyi jiuye junlüshi peixun) (Tibet’s Chamdo, October 8, 2014). Chamdo’s scheme was formally established in the region’s 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020), with the goal of training 65,000 laborers (including urban unemployed persons) during that time (Chamdo Government, December 29, 2015).

    By 2016, Chamdo had established 45 related vocational training bases (TAR Government, November 17, 2016). Starting in 2016, the TAR’s Shannan region likewise implemented vocational training with “semi-military-style management” (半军事化管理, ban junshihua guanli) (Tibet Shannan Net, April 5, 2017). Several different sources indicate that Chamdo’s military-style training management was conducted by People’s Armed Police drill sergeants.[1]

    Policies of the 2019-2020 Militarized Vocational Training and Labor Transfer Action Plan

    In March 2019, the TAR issued the 2019-2020 Farmer and Pastoralist Training and Labor Transfer Action Plan (西藏自治区2019-2020年农牧民培训和转移就业行动方案, Xizang Zizhiqu 2019-2020 Nian Nongmumin Peixun he Zhuanyi Jiuye Xingdong Fang’an) which mandates the “vigorous promotion of military-style…[vocational] training,” adopting the model pioneered in Chamdo and mandating it throughout the region. [2] The vocational training process must include “work discipline, Chinese language and work ethics,” aiming to “enhance laborers’ sense of discipline to comply with national laws and regulations and work unit rules and regulations.”

    Surplus labor training is to follow the “order-oriented” (订单定向式, dingdan dingxiangshi) or “need-driven” (以需定培, yi xu dingpei) method, [3] whereby the job is arranged first, and the training is based on the pre-arranged job placement. In 2020, at least 40 percent of job placements were to follow this method, with this share mandated to exceed 60 percent by the year 2024 (see [2], also below). Companies that employ a minimum number of laborers can obtain financial rewards of up to 500,000 renminbi ($73,900 U.S. dollars). Local labor brokers receive 300 ($44) or 500 ($74) renminbi per arranged labor transfer, depending whether it is within the TAR or without. [4] Detailed quotas not only mandate how many surplus laborers each county must train, but also how many are to be trained in each vocational specialty (Ngari Government, July 31, 2019).

    The similarities to Xinjiang’s coercive training scheme are abundant: both schemes have the same target group (“rural surplus laborers”—农牧区富余劳动者, nongmuqu fuyu laodongzhe); a high-powered focus on mobilizing a “reticent” minority group to change their traditional livelihood mode; employ military drill and military-style training management to produce discipline and obedience; emphasize the need to “transform” laborers’ thinking and identity, and to reform their “backwardness;” teach law and Chinese; aim to weaken the perceived negative influence of religion; prescribe detailed quotas; and put great pressure on officials to achieve program goals. [5]

    Labor Transfers to Other Provinces in 2020

    In 2020, the TAR introduced a related region-wide labor transfer policy that established mechanisms and target quotas for the transfer of trained rural surplus laborers both within (55,000) and without (5,000) the TAR (TAR Human Resources Department, July 17). The terminology is akin to that used in relation to Xinjiang’s labor transfers, employing phrases such as: “supra-regional employment transfer” (跨区域转移就业, kuaquyu zhuanyi jiuye) and “labor export” (劳务输出, laowu shuchu). Both the 2019-2020 Training and Labor Transfer Action Plan and the TAR’s 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020) only mention transfers outside the TAR in passing, without outlining a detailed related policy or the use of terminology akin to that found in related documents from Xinjiang. [6]

    In the first 7 months of 2020, the TAR trained 543,000 rural surplus laborers, accomplishing 90.5% of its annual goal by July. Of these, 49,900 were transferred to other parts of the TAR, and 3,109 to other parts of China (TAR Government, August 12). Each region is assigned a transfer quota. By the end of 2020, this transfer scheme must cover the entire TAR.

    Specific examples of such labor transfers identified by the author to other regions within the TAR include job placements in road construction, cleaning, mining, cooking and driving. [7] Transfers to labor placements outside the TAR include employment at the COFCO Group, China’s largest state-owned food-processing company (Hebei News, September 18, 2020).

    The central terminology employed for the labor transfer process is identical with language used in Xinjiang: “unified matching, unified organizing, unified management, unified sending off” (统一对接、统一组织、统一管理、统一输送 / tongyi duijie, tongyi zuzhi, tongyi guanli, tongyi shusong). [8] Workers are transferred to their destination in a centralized, “group-style” (组团式, zutuanshi), “point-to-point” (点对点, dianduidian) fashion. The policy document sets group sizes at 30 persons, divided into subgroups of 10, both to be headed by (sub-)group leaders (TAR Human Resources Department, July 17). In one instance, this transport method was described as “nanny-style point-to-point service” (“点对点”“保姆式”服务 / “dianduidian” “baomu shi” fuwu) (Chinatibet.net, June 21). As in Xinjiang, these labor transfers to other provinces are arranged and supported through the Mutual Pairing Assistance [or “assist Tibet” (援藏, Yuan Zang)] mechanism, albeit not exclusively. [9] The transferred laborers’ “left-behind” children, wives and elderly family members are to receive the state’s “loving care.” [10]

    Again, the similarities to Xinjiang’s inter-provincial transfer scheme are significant: unified processing, batch-style transfers, strong government involvement, financial incentives for middlemen and for participating companies, and state-mandated quotas. However, for the TAR’s labor transfer scheme, there is so far no evidence of accompanying cadres or security personnel, of cadres stationed in factories, or of workers being kept in closed, securitized environments at their final work destination. It is possible that the transfer of Tibetan laborers is not as securitized as that of Uyghur workers. There is also currently no evidence of TAR labor training and transfer schemes being linked to extrajudicial internment. The full range of TAR vocational training and job assignment mechanisms can take various forms and has a range of focus groups; not all of them involve centralized transfers or the military-style training and transfer of nomads and farmers.

    The Coercive Nature of the Labor Training and Transfer System

    Even so, there are clear elements of coercion during recruitment, training and job matching, as well as a centralized and strongly state-administered and supervised transfer process. While some documents assert that the scheme is predicated on voluntary participation, the overall evidence indicates the systemic presence of numerous coercive elements.

    As in Xinjiang, TAR government documents make it clear that poverty alleviation is a “battlefield,” with such work to be organized under a military-like “command” structure (脱贫攻坚指挥部, tuopin gongjian zhihuibu) (TAR Government, October 29, 2019; Xinhua, October 7, 2018). In mid-2019, the battle against poverty in the TAR was said to have “entered the decisive phase,” given the goal to eradicate absolute poverty by the end of 2020 (Tibet.cn, June 11, 2019). Since poverty is measured by income levels, and labor transfer is the primary means to increase incomes—and hence to “lift” people out of poverty—the pressure for local governments to round up poor populations and feed them into the scheme is extremely high.

    The Training and Labor Transfer Action Plan cited above establishes strict administrative procedures, and mandates the establishment of dedicated work groups as well as the involvement of top leadership cadres, to “ensure that the target tasks are completed on schedule” (see [2]). Each administrative level is to pass on the “pressure [to achieve the targets] to the next [lower] level.” Local government units are to “establish a task progress list [and] those who lag behind their work schedule… are to be reported and to be held accountable according to regulations.” The version adopted by the region governed under Shannan City is even more draconian: training and labor transfer achievements are directly weighed in cadres’ annual assessment scores, complemented by a system of “strict rewards and punishments.” [11] Specific threats of “strict rewards and punishments” in relation to achieving labor training and transfer targets are also found elsewhere, such as in official reports from the region governed under Ngari City, which mandate “weekly, monthly and quarterly” reporting mechanisms (TAR Government, December 18, 2018).

    As with the Uyghurs in Xinjiang, overcoming Tibetans’ resistance to labor transfer is an integral part of the entire mechanism. Documents state that the “strict military-style management” of the vocational training process causes the “masses to comply with discipline,” “continuously strengthens their patriotic awareness,” and reforms their “backward thinking.” [12] This may also involve the presence of local cadres to “make the training discipline stricter.” [13]

    Because the military-style vocational training process produces discipline and transforms “backward employment views,” it is said to “promote labor transfer.” [14] Rural laborers are to be transformed from “[being] unwilling to move” to becoming willing to participate, a process that requires “diluting the negative influence of religion,” which is said to induce passivity (TAR Commerce Department, June 10). The poverty alleviation and training process is therefore coupled with an all-out propaganda effort that aims to use “thought education” to “educate and guide the unemployed to change their closed, conservative and traditional employment mindset” (Tibet’s Chamdo, July 8, 2016). [15] One document notes that the poverty alleviation and labor transfer process is part of an effort to “stop raising up lazy people” (TAR Government, December 18, 2018).

    A 2018 account from Chamdo of post-training follow-up shows the tight procedures employed by the authorities:

    Strictly follow up and ask for effectiveness. Before the end of each training course, trainees are required to fill in the “Employment Willingness Questionnaire.” Establish a database…to grasp the employment…status of trainees after the training. For those who cannot be employed in time after training, follow up and visit regularly, and actively recommend employment…. [16]

    These “strict” follow-up procedures are increasingly unnecessary, because the mandated “order-oriented” process means that locals are matched with future jobs prior to the training.

    “Grid Management” and the “Double-Linked Household” System

    Coercive elements play an important role during the recruitment process. Village-based work teams, an intrusive social control mechanism pioneered by Chen Quanguo, go from door to door to “help transform the thinking and views of poor households.” [17] The descriptions of these processes, and the extensive government resources invested to ensure their operation, overlap to a high degree with those that are commonly practiced in Xinjiang (The China Quarterly, July 12, 2019). As is the case in Xinjiang, poverty-alleviation work in the TAR is tightly linked to social control mechanisms and key aspects of the security apparatus. To quote one government document, “By combining grid management and the ‘double-linked household’ management model, [we must] organize, educate, and guide the people to participate and to support the fine-grained poverty alleviation … work.” [18]

    Grid management (网格化管理, wanggehua guanli) is a highly intrusive social control mechanism, through which neighborhoods and communities are subdivided into smaller units of surveillance and control. Besides dedicated administrative and security staff, this turns substantial numbers of locals into “volunteers,” enhancing the surveillance powers of the state. [19] Grid management later became the backbone of social control and surveillance in Xinjiang. For poverty alleviation, it involves detailed databases that list every single person “in poverty,” along with indicators and countermeasures, and may include a “combat visualization” (图表化作战, tubiaohua zuozhan) feature whereby progress in the “war on poverty” is visualized through maps and charts (TAR Government, November 10, 2016). Purang County in Ngari spent 1.58 million renminbi ($233,588 dollars) on a “Smart Poverty Alleviation Big Data Management Platform,” which can display poverty alleviation progress on a large screen in real time (TAR Government, February 20, 2019).

    Similarly, the “double-linked household” (双联户, shuang lian hu) system corrals regular citizens into the state’s extensive surveillance apparatus by making sets of 10 “double-linked” households report on each other. Between 2012 and 2016, the TAR established 81,140 double-linked household entities, covering over three million residents, and therefore virtually the region’s entire population (South China Morning Post, December 12, 2016). An August 2020 article on poverty alleviation in Ngari notes that it was the head of a “double-linked” household unit who led his “entire village” to hand over their grassland and herds to a local husbandry cooperative (Hunan Government, August 20).

    Converting Property to Shares Through Government Cooperatives

    A particularly troubling aspect of the Training and Labor Transfer Action Plan is the directive to promote a “poverty alleviation industry” (扶贫产业, fupin chanye) scheme by which local nomads and farmers are asked to hand over their land and herds to large-scale, state-run cooperatives (农牧民专业合作社, nongmumin zhuanye hezuoshe). [20] In that way, “nomads become shareholders” as they convert their usage rights into shares. This scheme, which harks back to the forced collectivization era of the 1950s, increases the disposable incomes of nomads and farmers through share dividends and by turning them into wage laborers. They are then either employed by these cooperatives or are now “free” to participate in the wider labor transfer scheme. [21] In Nagqu, this is referred to as the “one township one cooperative, one village one cooperative ” (“一乡一社”“一村一合” / “yixiang yishe” “yicun yihe”) scheme, indicating its universal coverage. [22] One account describes the land transfer as prodding Tibetans to “put down the whip, walk out of the pasture, and enter the [labor] market” (People.cn, July 27, 2020).

    Clearly, such a radical transformation of traditional livelihoods is not achieved without overcoming local resistance. A government report from Shuanghu County (Nagqu) in July 2020 notes that:

    In the early stages, … most herders were not enthusiastic about participating. [Then], the county government…organized…county-level cadres to deeply penetrate township and village households, convening village meetings to mobilize people, insisted on transforming the [prevailing attitude of] “I am wanted to get rid of poverty” to “I want to get rid of poverty” as the starting point for the formation of a cooperative… [and] comprehensively promoted the policy… Presently… the participation rate of registered poor herders is at 100 percent, [that] of other herders at 97 percent. [23]

    Importantly, the phrase “transforming [attitudes of] ‘I am wanted to get rid of poverty’ to ‘I want to get rid of poverty’” is found in this exact form in accounts of poverty alleviation through labor transfer in Xinjiang. [24]

    Given that this scheme severs the long-standing connection between Tibetans and their traditional livelihood bases, its explicit inclusion in the militarized vocational training and labor transfer policy context is of great concern.

    Militarized Vocational Training: Examining a Training Base in Chamdo

    The Chamdo Golden Sunshine Vocational Training School (昌都市金色阳光职业培训学校, Changdushi Jinse Yangguang Zhiye Peixun Xuexiao) operates a vocational training base within Chamdo’s Vocational and Technical School, located in Eluo Town, Karuo District. The facility conducts “military-style training” (军旅式培训, junlüshi peixun) of rural surplus laborers for the purpose of achieving labor transfer; photos of the complex show a rudimentary facility with rural Tibetan trainees of various ages, mostly dressed in military fatigues. [25]

    Satellite imagery (see accompanying images) shows that after a smaller initial setup in 2016, [26] the facility was expanded in the year 2018 to its current state. [27] The compound is fully enclosed, surrounded by a tall perimeter wall and fence, and bisected by a tall internal wire mesh fence that separates the three main northern buildings from the three main southern ones (building numbers 4 and 5 and parts of the surrounding wall are shown in the accompanying Figure 4). The internal fence might be used to separate dormitories from teaching and administrative buildings. Independent experts in satellite analysis contacted by the author estimated the height of the internal fence at approximately 3 meters. The neighboring vocational school does not feature any such security measures.


    In both Xinjiang and Tibet, state-mandated poverty alleviation consists of a top-down scheme that extends the government’s social control deep into family units. The state’s preferred method to increase the disposable incomes of rural surplus laborers in these restive minority regions is through vocational training and labor transfer. Both regions have by now implemented a comprehensive scheme that relies heavily on centralized administrative mechanisms; quota fulfilment; job matching prior to training; and a militarized training process that involves thought transformation, patriotic and legal education, and Chinese language teaching.

    Important differences remain between Beijing’s approaches in Xinjiang and Tibet. Presently, there is no evidence that the TAR’s scheme is linked to extrajudicial internment, and aspects of its labor transfer mechanisms are potentially less coercive. However, in a system where the transition between securitization and poverty alleviation is seamless, there is no telling where coercion stops and where genuinely voluntary local agency begins. While some Tibetans may voluntarily participate in some or all aspects of the scheme, and while their incomes may indeed increase as a result, the systemic presence of clear indicators of coercion and indoctrination, coupled with profound and potentially permanent change in modes of livelihood, is highly problematic. In the context of Beijing’s increasingly assimilatory ethnic minority policy, it is likely that these policies will promote a long-term loss of linguistic, cultural and spiritual heritage.

    Adrian Zenz is a Senior Fellow in China Studies at the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, Washington, D.C. (non-resident), and supervises PhD students at the European School of Culture and Theology, Korntal, Germany. His research focus is on China’s ethnic policy, public recruitment in Tibet and Xinjiang, Beijing’s internment campaign in Xinjiang, and China’s domestic security budgets. Dr. Zenz is the author of Tibetanness under Threat and co-editor of Mapping Amdo: Dynamics of Change. He has played a leading role in the analysis of leaked Chinese government documents, to include the “China Cables” and the “Karakax List.” Dr. Zenz is an advisor to the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China, and a frequent contributor to the international media.


    [1] See for example https://archive.is/wip/4ItV6 or http://archive.is/RVJRK. State media articles from September 2020 indicate that this type of training is ongoing https://archive.is/e1XqL.

    [2] Chinese: 大力推广军旅式…培训 (dali tuiguang junlüshi…peixun). See https://bit.ly/3mmiQk7 (pp.12-17). See local implementation documents of this directive from Shannan City (https://bit.ly/32uVlO5, pp.15-24), Xigatse (https://archive.is/7oJ7p) and Ngari (https://archive.is/wip/R3Mpw).

    [3] See also https://archive.is/wip/eQMGa.

    [4] Provided that the person was employed for at least 6 months in a given year. Source: https://archive.is/KE1Vd.

    [5] See the author’s main work on this in section 6 of: “Beyond the Camps: Beijing’s Long-Term Scheme of Coercive Labor, Poverty Alleviation and Social Control in Xinjiang,” Journal of Political Risk (Vol. 7, No. 12), December 2019. https://www.jpolrisk.com/beyond-the-camps-beijings-long-term-scheme-of-coercive-labor-poverty-allev.

    [6] See https://archive.is/wip/Dyapm.

    [7] See https://archive.is/wip/XiZfl, https://archive.is/RdnvS, https://archive.is/w1kfx, https://archive.is/wip/NehA6, https://archive.is/wip/KMaUo, https://archive.is/wip/XiZfl, https://archive.is/RdnvS, https://archive.is/w1kfx.

    [8] See https://archive.is/KE1Vd and https://archive.is/wip/8afPF.

    [9] See https://archive.is/KE1Vd and https://archive.is/wip/8afPF.

    [10] See https://archive.is/KE1Vd.

    [11] See https://bit.ly/32uVlO5, p.24.

    [12] See https://archive.is/wip/fN9hz and https://archive.is/NYMwi, compare https://archive.is/wip/iiF7h and http://archive.is/Nh7tT.

    [13] See https://archive.is/wip/kQVnX. A state media account of Tibetan waiters at a tourism-oriented restaurant in Xiexong Township (Chamdo) notes that these are all from “poverty-alleviation households,” and have all gone through “centralized, military-style training.” Consequently, per this account, they have developed a “service attitude of being willing to suffer [or: work hard]”, as is evident from their “vigorous pace and their [constant] shuttling back and forth” as they serve their customers. https://archive.is/wip/Nfxnx (account from 2016); compare https://archive.is/wip/dTLku.

    [14] See https://archive.is/wip/faIeL and https://archive.is/wip/18CXh.

    [15] See https://archive.is/iiF7h.

    [16] See https://archive.is/wip/ETmNe

    [17] See https://archive.is/wip/iEV7P, see also e.g. https://archive.is/wip/1p6lV.

    [18] See https://archive.is/e45fJ.

    [19] See https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/china-quarterly/article/securitizing-xinjiang-police-recruitment-informal-policing-and-ethnic-minority-cooptation/FEEC613414AA33A0353949F9B791E733 and https://www.hrw.org/news/2013/03/20/china-alarming-new-surveillance-security-tibet.

    [20] E.g. https://archive.is/R3Mpw. This scheme was also mentioned in the TAR’s 13th 5-Year-Plan (2016-2020) (https://archive.is/wip/S3buo). See also similar accounts, e.g. https://archive.is/IJUyl.

    [21] Note e.g. the sequence of the description of these cooperatives followed by an account of labor transfer (https://archive.is/gIw3f).

    [22] See https://archive.is/wip/gIw3f or https://archive.is/wip/z5Tor or https://archive.is/wip/PR7lh.

    [23] See https://archive.is/wip/85zXB.

    [24] See the author’s related work on this in section 2.2 of: “Beyond the Camps: Beijing’s Long-Term Scheme of Coercive Labor, Poverty Alleviation and Social Control in Xinjiang,” Journal of Political Risk (Vol. 7, No. 12), December 2019. https://www.jpolrisk.com/beyond-the-camps-beijings-long-term-scheme-of-coercive-labor-poverty-allev.

    [25] Located as part of the 昌都市卡若区俄洛镇昌都市职业技术学校 campus. See https://bit.ly/2Rr6Ekc; compare https://archive.is/wip/uUTCp and https://archive.is/wip/lKnbe.

    [26] See https://archive.is/wip/WZsvQ.

    [27] Coordinates: 31.187035, 97.091817. Website: https://bit.ly/2Rr6Ekc. The timeframe for construction is indicated by historical satellite imagery and by the year 2018 featured on a red banner on the bottom-most photo of the website.


    #Chine #transfert_de_population #déplacement #rural_surplus_laborers #formaation_professionnelle #armée #travail #agriculture #discipline #discipline_de_travail #Chamdo #préjugés #terres #salariés #travailleurs_salariés #Chen_Quanguo #Xinjiang #Oïghours #camps #pauvreté #contrôle_social #pastoralisme #Farmer_and_Pastoralist_Training_and_Labor_Transfer_Action_Plan #minorités #obédience #discipline #identité #langue #religion #COFCO_Group #mots #terminologie #vocabulaire #Mutual_Pairing_Assistance #pauvreté #Shannan_City #Ngari_City #surveillance #poverty_alleviation #coopératives #salaire #Nagqu #Chamdo_Golden_Sunshine_Vocational_Training_School #Eluo_Town

  • Malaysia will not follow US sanctions against 24 Chinese companies, says ambassador, SE Asia News & Top Stories - The Straits Times

    Malaysia will not take sides and follow the United States and impose sanctions on 24 Chinese companies the latter accuses of advancing China’s militarisation of the South China, Malaysian Ambassador to China Raja Nushirwan Zainal Abidin told the Global Times in a recent exclusive interview.

    #etats-unis #chine #malaisie #sanctions

  • Coronavirus: 178,000 people given the all-clear in mass test sparked by asymptomatic port workers | South China Morning Post

    The programme was initiated after two male workers at Qingdao port tested positive for Covid-19 in a routine test arranged by their company on Thursday. Neither of the men – identified only as Dong, 40, and Chen, 45 – had shown any symptoms of the disease but were now in quarantine in hospital and receiving treatment, the health authority said. They had both tested negative in a routine nucleic acid test on September 8, but the positive results came after they had worked a night shift unpacking frozen food.As of 8am Saturday, 209 of the pair’s close contacts had been traced and tested for the coronavirus. All of them returned negative results but would still undergo a period of quarantine, the authority said.A further 232 people known to be close contacts of the 209 had also been identified and quarantined, it said. As well as people, about 21,000 frozen products and environmental samples collected from two Russian ships at the port were also tested for the coronavirus, and 51 positive results were returned.
    All of the affected items and others from the same batches had been isolated and not been released onto the market, the health authority said.
    As a result of the positive results, China would not accept import declarations from the two ships for a period of four weeks, the General Administration of Customs said on Saturday. Pets may be more susceptible to Covid-19 than first thought, study says. The customs authority last week suspended seafood imports from two firms – one from Brazil, the other from Indonesia – for a week after their fish products tested positive for the coronavirus.More than 12,000 workers at Qingdao Port, China’s second-largest for foreign trade, had been tested for the coronavirus since Thursday and more tests would follow, the health authority said.


    • As well as people, about 21,000 frozen products and environmental samples collected from two Russian ships at the port were also tested for the coronavirus, and 51 positive results were returned.
      The customs authority last week suspended seafood imports from two firms – one from Brazil, the other from Indonesia – for a week after their fish products tested positive for the coronavirus.

  • Coronavirus : en Tunisie, une centaine de travailleurs confinés dans une usine de masques

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  • Coronavirus: China eases visa restrictions for foreigners | South China Morning Post

    China will ease entry restrictions for foreigners from Monday, with the spread of the coronavirus through imported cases largely under control. As of Wednesday, China had 10 new imported cases and no new local cases or deaths, with a total of 168 confirmed cases still being treated, and 6,864 close contacts of previous cases still being monitored. Foreign nationals holding valid Chinese residence permits for work, personal matters or family reunion are allowed to enter China without applying for new visas, according to a Chinese foreign ministry statement released late on Wednesday. If these permits expired after March 28, the holders can apply for new visas through Chinese embassies or consulates if the purpose of the visit to China remains unchanged.
    But other restrictions introduced in March would continue, the statement said.Anybody coming from abroad will still have to have coronavirus tests and complete 14 days of quarantine, according to the regulations.“While ensuring effective epidemic control, the Chinese government will continue resuming people-to-people exchanges in a step-by-step and orderly manner,” it said. Self-quarantine of all international travellers to Beijing as China fights import of coronavirusSelf-quarantine of all international travellers to Beijing as China fights import of coronavirus


  • Chine : la menace d’une crise alimentaire, symptôme du « virage à gauche » de Xi Jinping - Asialyst

    C’est l’un des enseignements de la dernière rencontre estivale de l’élite du Parti à Beidaihe : le problème est conjoncturel. La pandémie de Covid-19 démobilise la main-d’œuvre en Chine du Centre et du Sud, ce qui rend par la suite le retour au travail problématique. Par ailleurs, les pluies torrentielles de juin-juillet ont mis à mal le système de citernes et de barrages partout dans ces deux régions, qui n’ont été que très peu prises en charge par les autorités. Résultat, les inondations ont laissé un grand nombre de récoltes détruites ou à l’abandon. Sans oublier l’arrivée des locustes dans le sud de la Chine, qui a ainsi achevé une partie des récoltes restantes. IL faut mentionner aussi la sécheresse dans le bastion du soja au Nord-Est. Les visites de Xi Jinping se voulaient rassurantes, en « montrant » les grains – le maïs en l’occurrence. Mais elles n’ont aidé en rien à changer la réalité du terrain. Si bien que même les téléphones portables ont été interdits près des greniers suite à la publication de photos montrant du maïs en train de pourrir.

    #Chine #pénurie #pandémie #famine (menace de) #autarcie #auto-suffisance

  • Vietnam restarts flights with six cities in Asia for business travellers, citizens | South China Morning Post

    Vietnam is restarting passenger flights with six Asian cities as it moves to shore up an economy battered by the coronavirus pandemic
    by boosting business activity.Foreigners travelling for business or study, along with Vietnamese nationals and their family members, will be allowed in from the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou, South Korea’s Seoul, Japan’s Tokyo, and Taipei, the government said on Tuesday, adding that flights to and from Cambodia’s Phnom Penh and Laos’ Vientiane would start next week. There will be two round trips a week between Vietnam and the selected destinations. All travellers must test negative for Covid-19 before boarding their flight and again upon landing. Those staying in Vietnam for fewer than 14 days will not need to be quarantined but have to be tested, wear a mask and refrain from shaking hands


  • Correspondant en Chine : un métier éprouvant et dangereux - Asialyst

    Avec le départ précipité cette semaine de deux journalistes australiens basés en Chine, pour la première fois depuis 1973, il n’existe plus aucun correspondant de ce pays en activité sur le sol chinois. Le résultat d’une politique chinoise particulièrement difficile, voire dangereuse, à l’égard de journalistes occidentaux de moins en moins tolérés par le régime de Xi Jinping.

    #censure #auto-censure #Chine #journalisme

  • Un nuage de moustiques tueurs balaie le sud des États-Unis | Slate.fr

    2020  : cuvée exceptionnelle  !

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    Les bêtes qui survivent doivent également faire face à de nombreuses séquelles. Plusieurs vaches en gestation ont par exemple perdu leurs veaux à cause du stress provoqué par ces attaques.