• China und die Uiguren | Krass & Konkret
    https://krass-und-konkret.de/politik-wirtschaft/china-und-die-uiguren


    Xiniang, Westchina ; Foto (2020) : Fred Wong, Voice of America/gemeinfrei

    Après avoir lu cette interview et le récit du voyage mon idée de la situation au Xinjian a changé. Je savait déjà que le fournisseur des accusation de la Chine au sujet du Xinjiang et de ses habitants est un fanatique religieux donc une des sources les moins fiables. Les accusations prononcées par des membres des associations religieuses ouïgoures font partie de la même catégorie. Pourtant il y avait évidemmant un problème au Xinjiang. Déjà dans les années 1990 j’étais au courant d’attentats commis par des séparatistes et fanatiques religieux ouïgours dans la Chine entière et surtout dans leur province natale.

    Depuis les attentats suicidaires sont dévenus une arme de prédilection dans les guerres du monde islamique et la Chine n’a sans doute pas été épargnée des ce changement stratégique. L’état chinois semble avoir pris le problème au sérieux avec succès. La situation au Xinjiang semble se détendre suite à la victoire sur le terrorisme islamiste en Chine. Tout le monde en profite, surtout les ouïgours, qui connaissent une prospérité sans précédent.

    Il faut rester attentif quand même parce que la Chine est un état plein de contradictions où les choses prennent parfois un tournant inimaginable pour les gens de l’Ouest. La leçon la plus importante de l’interview est qu’il n’y a pas de génocide des Ouïgours et qu’il y en a pas eu.

    Jürgen Kurz, Mitglied der Grünen, ist mit einer Chinesin verheiratet und lebt seit bald 20 Jahren in China. Ihn hat die seiner Ansicht und Erfahrung nach einseitige Darstellung von China sowie die zunehmend feindselige Haltung westlicher Länder gestört. Im Mai ist er in die besonders in der Aufmerksamkeit stehende Provinz Xinjiang gereist, aus der seine Frau stammt und die er schon öfter besucht hatte. Es ging ihm darum zu sehen, ob hier wirklich die China vorgeworfenen systematischen und massiven Menschenrechtsverletzungen, Zwangssterilisierung und Masseninhaftierung uigurischer Einwohner in Umerziehungslagern stattfinden. Hier sollen eine Million Uiguren oder mehr eingesperrt sein. Florian Rötzer sprach mit ihm über seine Eindrücke.

    Herr Kurz, wir haben uns verabredet, um über Ihre Reise nach Xinjiang zu sprechen, bei der Sie erfahren wollten, wie es dort den Uiguren geht. Nur als Hintergrund: Sie leben schon lange in China und sind verheiratet mit einer Chinesin. Ist das eine Han-Chinesin?

    Jürgen Kurz: Ja, das ist eine Han-Chinesin. Ich bin seit 18 Jahren hier. 2003 habe ich offiziell hier unsere Zweigestelle begründet, die ich leite, und lebe seitdem in Shanghai.

    Sie kennen die Provinz auch schon von früher? Ihre Frau kommt aus Xinjiang?

    Jürgen Kurz: Ja, meine Frau kommt aus der Provinz, aus der ehemaligen Garnisonsstadt Shihezi westlich von der Provinzhauptstadt Urumqi. Die Armee kam ursprünglich nicht hierher, um Xinjiang zu erobern, sondern um Ackerbau zu betreiben. Später holte man noch Frauen nach. In der Stadt gibt es auch viele Uiguren. 2005 war ich das erste Mal dort, mittlerweile waren es achtmal.

    Seit einigen Jahren kursieren Bericht über Xinjiang, dass China dort eine Million Uiguren und mehr seit den Terroranschlägen in Umerziehungslager gesteckt habe. Sie würden gefoltert, es finde ein Genozid statt, es gebe Zwangsarbeit. Sie haben die Provinz im Mai bereist. Konnten Sie denn frei und ohne staatliche “Begleitung” reisen, überall hingehen und besuchen, was Sie wollten?

    Jürgen Kurz: In Xinjiang kann jeder überall und zu jeder Zeit hinreisen. Wenn man vor 10 Jahren nach Xinjiang gekommen ist, dann musste man an jedem größeren Ort eine Eingangskontrolle durchwandern. Es wurde die Identität festgestellt und mit einer Verdächtigenkartei abgeglichen. Das war nervig, aber die Reise war nie eingeschränkt. Ich hatte nie das Gefühl, dass mich jemand von irgendetwas abhalten wollte.

    Bei meiner Reise im Mai ging es mir um die vielfach diskutierten Themen, die den Chinesen vorgeworfen werden. Das sind vier Kernvorwürfe. Der erste Vorwurf ist ein Genozid, dann geht es um die systematischen Vergewaltigung von uigurischen Frauen, die Zwangssterilisierung und die Ausrottung der uigurischen Sprache. In diesem Zusammenhang wird von einer Million Uiguren erzählt, die in concentration camps festgehalten werden. Wenn man den Präsidenten des uigurischen Weltkongresses fragt, wo die Zahl herkommt, dann sagt er: Das stand doch in den Medien. Und wenn man die Medien fragt, dann heißt es, das werde doch überall gesagt. Das ist eine Zahl, die vom Himmel herunterfällt. Adrian Zenz ist der Hauptprotagonist, der diese Zahl einmal in die Welt gesetzt, aber dafür eigentlich keine Basis hat.

    Auffällig ist in der Tat, dass es keine Belege dafür gibt. Wenn Sie sagen, dass man vor der Covid-Zeit problemlos in die Provinz einreisen und Erkundungen vornehmen konnte, dann ist dies offenbar nicht geschehen. Waren denn Beobachter dort?

    Jürgen Kurz: Doch, da waren viele Vertreter von Ländern da. Es waren meist nur nicht die der westlichen Länder. Es waren westliche Journalisten da, die auch berichtet haben. Es gab beispielsweise einmal eine Delegation des Bundestages vor zwei oder drei Jahren, die nach Xinjiang reisen sollte. Sie war bestückt mit Leuten, die bereits wussten, dass dort Menschenrechte verletzt werden und es Konzentrationslager gibt. Sie forderten, diese concentration camps besuchen zu können. Die Chinesen sagten darauf, dass es die nicht gibt. Deswegen könnten sie diese nicht zeigen. Daraufhin gab es eine heftige öffentliche Auseinandersetzung. (Die Delegation ist dann nicht hingereist.)

    Man muss das in die globale Auseinandersetzung einlagern. Heute ist China die zweitgrößte Volkswirtschaft der Welt. In den achtziger Jahren war das Land mit einem BIP von 350 Milliarden US-Dollar eine mickrige Nation mit einer Milliarde Menschen und einem BIP pro Kopf von 300 US-Dollar. Heute beträgt das BIP über 14 Billionen US-Dollar und pro Kopf von mehr als 10.000 US-Dollar. Das sind also ganz andere Dimensionen. Jetzt wird China zur größten Gefahr für die Vorherrschaft der Amerikaner. Jeder, der sich mit der Globalpolitik beschäftigt, weiß, dass die Amerikaner eine ganz harte Strategie fahren, um den Aufstieg Chinas zu verhindern. China darf nicht stärker und einflussreicher als die USA werden. Auch Präsident Biden und Außenminister Blinken habe diese Position öffentlich vertreten und werben in Europa dafür, sich anzuschließen, um die Chinesen einhausen zu können, damit sie nicht zu stark werden. Dafür nutzt man auch das Menschenrechtsargument.

    Die Menschenrechte werden nicht nur gegenüber China immer mehr als politisches Mittel eingesetzt. Aber mal ganz konkret. Die eine Seite spricht von Umerziehungslagern oder concentration camps, die Chinesen sprechen von Ausbildungszentren. Konnten Sie ein solches Ausbildungszentrum besuchen oder haben Sie mit Leuten gesprochen, die dort waren?

    Jürgen Kurz: Ich habe Einblick bekommen. Man muss das präziser beschreiben. Es geht um Vocational Education Center. So heißt das in China. Das ist ein Teil der Armutsbekämpfungspolitik. In China laufen solche Programme extrem stark über die Regierung, die Provinzregierung, die Städte und die Kommunen. Es ist nicht so wie bei uns, dass der freie Markt den Arbeitsmarkt regulieren soll, sondern die Verwaltungen versuchen, systematisch Armutsbekämpfung zu betreiben.

    2009 gab es diesen fürchterlichen Anschlag in Urumuqi, wo über 200 Menschen auf den Straßen umgekommen sind. Es gab auf dem Bahnhof in Kunming einen Anschlag, bei dem 20 Menschen getötet wurden. Es gab permanent Anschläge in Xinjiang. Mein Frau berichtete mir, ihre Mutter habe ihr erzählt, dass in einem Nachbardorf eine Polizeistation in die Luft gejagt wurde, wobei acht Polizisten starben. Verantwortlich war eine radikale Gruppe namens ETIM (East Turkistan Islamic Movement), für die Ostturkistan, die heutige UAR Xinjiang, ein unabhängiges Land ist, das sich von China abtrennen muss. Außerdem sind sie extrem islamistisch, vergleichbar mit den Taliban in Afghanistan. 20.000 Kämpfer der ETIM haben sich dem Islamischen Staat angeschlossen.

    Amerikanische Strategen haben gesagt, um China zu destabilisieren, müssen wir ETIM unterstützen. Die USA haben ETIM auch mehrere Jahre lang unterstützt. Jetzt machen sie dies nicht mehr (2004 wurde ETIM auf die Terrorliste gesetzt, 2020 unter Trump wieder daraus entfernt). China hat darauf auch sehr clever reagiert und das gar nicht an die große Glocke gehängt.

    Die Radikalisierung von Menschen hat stattgefunden. Die dafür ansprechbarsten Menschen sind junge Männer, die keine berufliche Perspektive haben und nicht wissen, was sie machen sollen. Mit diesen Menschen, die einen solchen Weg gegangen sind, kann man sich auch unterhalten, wenn sie älter werden. Ich habe beispielsweise einen Mann getroffen, der heute ein Internetunternehmer ist und mir sagte, dass ihn seine Freundin und seine Eltern aus dem Extremismus herausgeholt haben. Seine Eltern sagten ihm, wenn du so weitermachst, bist du nicht mehr unser Sohn. Seine Freundin hatte ihn vor die Entscheidung gestellt: Wenn du so weitermachst, dann haue ich ab, geh zur Schule, zum Vocational Education Center. Hier wird Chinesisch und chinesisches Recht gelehrt. Das klingt komisch, aber es muss Menschen, die unter einem extremistischen Einfluss leben, erklärt werden, was man darf und was man nicht darf. Auch bei uns muss man den Menschen erklären, was Recht ist, was richtig und falsch ist. Der Mann ist also zur Schule gegangen, das war eine freiwillige Maßnahme. Heute ist er Unternehmer mit 15 Angestellten in Turpan. 2019 wurde dieses Programm geschlossen.


    Das ehemalige Vocational Education Center in Korla soll jetzt eine Schule sein. Dieser Besuch war unangemeldet und die Wächter am Eingangsbereich wurden sofort nervös als sie einen „Lao Wei“ sahen, der Bilder von der Anlage machte.

    Zum Hintergrund: Ist Xinjiang eine arme Provinz mit hoher Arbeitslosigkeit gewesen? Wenn in diesen Zentren Chinesisch unterrichtet wird, würde das doch bedeuten, dass die Menschen die Sprache nicht gelernt haben. War da auch die Schulausbildung ungenügend?

    Jürgen Kurz: Das ist nicht so einfach. Hier kommt auch wieder der Westen herein. Die Uiguren haben eine eigene Kultur und eine eigene Sprache. In China gibt es den Artikel 4 in der Verfassung, dass jede Ethnie das Recht hat, so zu leben, wie sie will. Ethnische Eigenheiten werden unterstützt. Niemand hat die Uiguren gezwungen, unbedingt Chinesisch zu lernen. Das hat dazu geführt, nachdem sich China in den letzten Jahrzehnten extrem entwickelt hat, dass die Menschen, die nicht Chinesisch sprachen, ins Hintertreffen geraten sind. Man kann natürlich in Xinjiang Arbeit finden, aber es ist völliger Quatsch, dass die Uiguren gezwungen wurden, Arbeit in den Kommunen anzunehmen. Die Uiguren können auch woandershin gehen. Es gibt auch in Shanghai viele Uiguren, die hier Restaurants betreiben. Aber wenn man keine Ausbildung hat, muss man in diesem Umfeld mit starker Konkurrenz in einer brummenden Wirtschaft erst einmal eine Chance haben, um einen vernünftigen Job zu erhalten. Die Hilfsjobs, die früher vorhanden waren, fallen mehr und mehr weg, weil qualifiziertere Jobs entstehen. Das war das Problem, viele Menschen fühlten sich abgehängt, wodurch die Radikalisierung verstärkt wurde.

    Gingen die Menschen in diese Ausbildungszentren freiwillig hin oder wurden sie dort kaserniert?

    Jürgen Kurz: Das konnten sie entscheiden. Soweit ich dies mitbekommen habe, gingen sie morgens dahin und sind abends wieder nach Hause gegangen. Das sind die freiwilligen Ausbildungszentren. Aber das muss man unterscheiden von den uigurischen Separatisten, die rechtlich in Zwangsmaßnahmen genommen wurden. Sie haben auch gearbeitet, wie das bei uns im Knast ist, wo Gefangene auch zur Arbeit bewegt werden. Das kann man als Zwangsarbeit definieren. Die Freigelassenen haben davon berichtet, was Journalisten im Westen mit Begeisterung aufgenommen haben.

    Um wie viele solcher Separatisten hat es sich denn gehandelt?

    Jürgen Kurz: Das ist ein Punkt, an dem ich selbst noch am Suchen bin. Ich habe meine Reise selbst organisiert. Ich habe sie angemeldet, weil ich uigurische Schulen besuchen wollte, um zu sehen, ob die Sprache wirklich ausgerottet wird. Das wird sie nicht. Ich habe kleine Kinder gesehen, die uigurisch lernen. Ich habe eine Schule besucht, wo nur uigurische Kinder waren. Aber ich konnte nicht in Gefängnisse gehen und sehen, wie viele Uiguren hier einsitzen. Als westlicher Journalist kann man sich hinstellen und sagen, dass das verheimlicht werden soll, aber wenn man China kennt, weiß man, dass die Zuständigkeit der Behörden sehr strikt ist und dass es schwierig ist, von Behörde zu Behörde Transparenz zu finden. Die Daten hätte ich gerne gehabt, ich hoffe, an sie beim nächsten Besuch heranzukommen, ich habe das auch angemahnt. Es wäre sehr wichtig, dass die Weltöffentlichkeit erfährt, um wie viele Fälle es wirklich geht. Ich gehe schätzungsweise mal von einer Größenordnung von 20.000 Menschen aus, vielleicht auch mehr. 20.000 waren schon beim Islamischen Staat tätig. Aber diejenigen, die China verlassen haben, sind nicht mehr hereingekommen.

    Sie haben auch Dokumentationszentren über die Terroranschläge besucht. Es gab sicher Repression, um die Täter mit ihrem Umfeld zu finden. Wie wird das in der Bevölkerung wahrgenommen? Ist der Terror noch Thema? Wurde er auch etwas extrem dargestellt?

    Jürgen Kurz: In der Bevölkerung, vor allem in der uigurischen, bleiben sicher Wunden. Es ist ein harter, auch brutaler Kampf geführt worden. Die chinesische Polizei in Xinjiang besteht aus vielen Uiguren und Han-Chinesen. Ich halte es für möglich, dass der harte Kampf nicht mit den rechtsstaatlichen Mitteln geführt wurde, wie wir sie als rechtsstaatlich interpretieren würden. Nach allem, was ich hier in China über die Polizeiarbeit erlebt habe, glaube ich, dass man trotzdem versucht hat, korrekt, also im Rahmen der Gesetze, vorzugehen. Die Gesetze lassen Ansätze zum Genozid überhaupt nicht zu. Dem einzelnen Polizisten traue ich aber zu Hundertprozent zu, dass er in der extremen Situation, wenn man beispielsweise in einem Gefecht mit Attentätern steht, nicht nach Recht und Gesetz vorgeht und rational handelt. Die Auseinandersetzungen haben Wunden in der Bevölkerung geschlagen, auch bei Uiguren, die gegenüber China nicht negativ eingestellt waren. Ich kann mir nicht vorstellen, dass das spurlos an den Menschen vorbeigegangen ist.

    Aber man kann sehen, wenn man hier herumreist, dass die Menschen sich freuen, dass diese Anschläge seit mehreren Jahren nicht mehr stattfinden, dass Ruhe herrscht, dass sie ihrem Job und ihrer Religion nachgehen können. Die Menschen wollen auch ihre Wunden nicht dauernd vor sich her tragen. Dass Vergessen ist eine Art der Aufarbeitung, die aber bei unserer Geschichte schwer zu vermitteln ist. Da kann dann auch ein westlicher Journalist, der eine Geschichte daraus machen will, gut graben.

    Ich war vor fünf Jahren das letzte Mal in Xinjiang und war jetzt erstaunt, wie viel sich dort verändert hat: die Infrastruktur, die Entwicklung in den Gemeinden und Städten, Parks, Lebensqualität, Arbeitsbeschaffungsprogramme, touristische Hotspots. Ich kann nur nach Deutschland sagen, schaut euch einmal Xinjiang an. Das ist ein wunderbares Urlaubsziel, eine faszinierende Welt, komplett anders, als man sich China vorstellt.

    Es wird auch davon gesprochen, dass China Han-Chinesen in der Provinz ansiedelt, um die Bevölkerungsmehrheit zu ändern. Zudem wird behauptet, dass viele Moscheen zerstört wurden, um die Religion zu schwächen. Was ist davon zu halten? Was haben Sie gesehen?

    Jürgen Kurz: Dass viele Moscheen zerstört wurden, ist Quatsch. In Xinjiang gibt es, glaube ich, 27.000 Moscheen. Dass Moscheen abgerissen wurden, weil Modernisierungen stattfanden oder Stadtteile saniert wurden, trifft aber zu. Ich habe in einer Gemeinde auch gesehen, dass die von der Gemeinde fianzierte Moschee geschlossen wurde, nachdem der reichste örtliche uigurische Busunternehmer diese Moschee als Versammlungsort missbraucht und Schusswaffen bei sich Zuhause gehortet hatte. Den Hintergrund kenne ich nicht. Es fanden dort auch konspirative Treffen statt. Daraufhin wurde diese Gemeindemoschee geschlossen und in ein Gemeindezentrum umgebaut. Das war eine polizeiliche und erzieherische Maßnahme.

    In meiner Reisebeschreibung habe ich mehrere Moscheen dokumentiert. Dass Moscheen systematisch zerstört werden, ist Quatsch. Genauso gibt es katholische Kirchen in China, jede Religionsgemeinschaft wird unterstützt. Aber Jugendliche unter 18 Jahren dürfen religiös nicht unterrichtet werden. Man hat den Ansatz, dass jemand erst, wenn er 18 Jahre alt ist, sich für eine Religion entscheiden kann, aber man will die Manipulation von Kindern nicht. Das ist eine philosophische Frage, über die man diskutieren kann.

    Jetzt zum Umsiedlungsprogramm. Die uigurische Bevölkerung wächst seit Jahren, die Geburtenrate ist stärker als die der Han-Chinesen, der Anteil der Uiguren an der Bevölkerung liegt bei 45 Prozent, der der Han-Chinesen bei 40 Prozent, die Hui stellen 7 Prozent und es gibt noch die Kasachen. Trotzdem gab es in den letzten Jahren einen stärkeren Zuzug von Han-Chinesen nach Xinjiang. Daraus kann man die Geschichte konstruieren, dass China Menschen umsiedelt. Aber das liegt daran, dass dann, wenn es irgendwo Geld zu verdienen, etwas zu investieren und Arbeit gibt, weil eine Provinz aufgebaut wird, das auch Arbeitskräfte von auswärts anzieht. Die Uiguren in Xinjiang haben alle Arbeit, es kommen immer mehr Investoren in die Provinz, weil die wissen, dass die Zentralregierung hier Investitionen unterstützt. Das führt dazu, dass von den 1,4 Milliarden Menschen auch ein paar Hunderttausend Arbeitskräfte zusätzlich nach Xinjiang kamen. In China kann jeder entscheiden, wohin er zieht. Es ist auch eine Mär, dass die Chinesen dies nicht entscheiden können.

    Es ist also kein gesteuertes Programm?

    Jürgen Kurz: Ich kann das so als westlicher Journalist framen, wenn ich das so haben will. Das passiert auch permanent. Aber das widerspricht komplett meinen Beobachtungen und Erfahrungen.

    La page personnelle de l’auteur
    https://www.juergenk.de/6.html

    Le carnet de voyage
    https://www.juergenk.de/resources/Die%20Xinjiang%20Tour.pdf

    #Chine #Xinjiang #voyage #politique

  • Photographie : « Dust » de Patrick Wack, la poussière du Xinjiang - Asialyst
    https://asialyst.com/fr/2021/07/03/photographie-dust-patrick-wack-poussiere-xinjiang-ouighours

    Comment photographier le Xinjiang ? Patrick Wack en a fait l’expérience sur plusieurs années. D’abord en recherche d’un « ailleurs dans l’ailleurs », d’une région marquée par la culture turcique et musulmane des Ouïghours et par ses espaces infinis. Un endroit qui échappait encore il y a peu au béton uniformisé du développement chinois. Le photographe y cherchait confusément des ressemblances avec la conquête de l’Ouest américain. Ce n’est pas ce qu’il a trouvé sur place. « Le romantisme n’est plus possible au Xinjiang », écrit-il en préface de son livre, Dust (Éditions André Frère), qui rassemble toutes ses séries photographiques sur la région ouïghoure. De 2016 à 2019, Patrick Wack a vu la sombre transformation d’un « territoire surveillé » en une « prison à ciel ouvert », où les Ouïghours sont enfermés dans des camps de rééducation par centaines de milliers. Avec en toile de fond, la réflexion obsédante sur ce qu’est un génocide.

    #Chine #Xinjiang #Ouïghours #puissance_hégémonique #minorités

  • De l’éveil à l’insomnie
    https://laviedesidees.fr/Ekirch-La-grande-transformation-du-sommeil.html

    À propos de : Roger Ekirch, La grande transformation du sommeil : Comment la révolution industrielle a bouleversé nos nuits, Éditions Amsterdam. Longtemps, l’humanité a divisé ses nuits en deux étapes ; ce n’est qu’avec la révolution industrielle, et le besoin de gagner du temps de travail, que la norme s’impose d’un sommeil continu – la phase d’éveil devenant l’insomnie pathologique.

    #Histoire #culture #nature #normes #XIXe_siècle #nuit
    https://laviedesidees.fr/IMG/docx/20210630_sommeil-v2.docx
    https://laviedesidees.fr/IMG/pdf/20210630_sommeil-v2.pdf

  • D’après Pierre-Antoine Donnet (Asialyst), le fossé diplomatique entre la #Chine et l’Occident se creuse inexorablement. Sur fond de #guerre commerciale et communicationnelle à propos des #Ouïghours au #Xinjiang et d’escalade belliciste à propos de Taïwan, une #conflagration semblerait inexorable.

    https://asialyst.com/fr/2021/03/29/entre-chine-occident-inexorable-montee-antagonismes

    La Troisième Guerre mondiale va-t-elle éclater à Taïwan ? - Asialyst
    https://asialyst.com/fr/2021/04/01/troisieme-guerre-moindiale-eclater-taiwan

    Ancien journaliste à l’AFP, Pierre-Antoine Donnet est l’auteur d’une quinzaine d’ouvrages consacrés à la Chine, au Japon, au Tibet, à l’Inde et aux grands défis asiatiques. En 2020, cet ancien correspondant à Pékin a publié « Le leadership mondial en question, L’affrontement entre la Chine et les États-Unis » aux Éditions de l’Aube. Il est aussi l’auteur de « Tibet mort ou vif », paru chez Gallimard en 1990 et réédité en 2019 dans une version mise à jour et augmentée.

  • Pékin avertit à nouveau les géants chinois de la tech
    https://www.lemonde.fr/economie/article/2021/03/19/pekin-avertit-a-nouveau-les-geants-chinois-de-la-tech_6073707_3234.html

    Depuis bientôt six mois, l’Etat a multiplié les amendes et les mesures réglementaires contre des plates-formes chinoises de plus en plus puissantes.

    A première vue, c’était presque un rendez-vous de routine : les autorités chinoises avaient convoqué, jeudi 18 mars, les représentants de Tencent, d’Alibaba et de neuf autres entreprises du Web chinois pour les mettre en garde au sujet des « fake news ». Les autorités sont particulièrement sensibles à toute information, véridique ou non, considérée comme politiquement sensible. Mais cette convocation s’inscrit dans un contexte différent : la mise au pas des géants du Web. Depuis bientôt six mois, les mesures de régulation se sont multipliées : annulation de l’introduction en Bourse de la filiale financière d’Alibaba, Ant Group, en novembre 2020 ; régulation de la finance en ligne ; loi antimonopoles ; régulation de la collecte de données…

    Une campagne soutenue en haut lieu : lundi 15 mars, le président, Xi Jinping, a demandé aux régulateurs de la finance de renforcer la supervision des entreprises du Web, de s’attaquer aux monopoles, de promouvoir une compétition saine, la protection des données, et d’empêcher l’expansion désordonnée des capitaux, a rapporté la télévision nationale CCTV. Les plates-formes doivent « suivre la direction politique correcte ».

    « Certaines se développent de manière non standardisée, et cela présente des risques. Il est nécessaire d’améliorer les lois qui gouvernent l’économie des plates-formes afin de combler les vides juridiques », a déclaré le dirigeant chinois. Outre les deux géants, Alibaba et Tencent, la liste des entreprises convoquées par l’administration chinoise du cyberespace et le ministère de la sécurité publique (chargé de la police) inclue entre autres ByteDance, propriétaire de TikTok et de sa version chinoise Douyin, le fabricant de smartphones et d’objets connectés Xiaomi, Kuaishou, qui propose aussi des vidéos courtes, et NetEase, numéro deux chinois des jeux vidéo.Sujets sensibles

    D’après un communiqué de l’administration du cyberespace, les autorités ont demandé aux entreprises de « procéder à une évaluation de sécurité par eux-mêmes » de leurs plates-formes sociales, et de soumettre un rapport aux autorités s’ils souhaitent ajouter des fonctions qui « ont un potentiel de mobilisation de la société ». Le communiqué mentionne en particulier les fonctions audio, et le problème des « deep fakes », des créations ultra-réalistes permettant, à partir de contenus réels, de faire dire à des personnalités des choses qu’elles n’ont pas dites.

    La référence aux fonctions audio concerne les applications de conversation en ligne, comme Clubhouse. Avant l’interdiction de l’application américaine en février, des discussions impliquant des utilisateurs basés en Chine avaient eu lieu sur des sujets hautement sensibles aux yeux des autorités du pays, comme la politique chinoise vis-à-vis de Hongkong, de Taïwan, ou la présence de camps de rééducation dans la région autonome du Xinjiang, dans l’Ouest chinois. Depuis la censure de l’application américaine, plusieurs entreprises chinoises ont mis au point des applications similaires.

    Malgré les progrès de la reconnaissance vocale, la censure de conversations orales est plus difficile à appliquer que celle d’échanges écrits. Quelques jours plus tôt, le 11 mars, douze entreprises, dont Tencent, ByteDance, mais aussi le moteur de recherche Baidu et la plate-forme de VTC Didi, ont été condamnées à des amendes de 500 000 yuans (64 000 euros) par l’administration d’Etat pour la régulation des marchés, en vertu d’une loi antimonopoles. Une loi qui devrait être renforcée dans les mois à venir, d’après des annonces faites lors de la session de l’Assemblée nationale populaire, début mars.
    « Presque autant d’utilisateurs que Facebook »

    Après l’annulation de l’introduction en Bourse record d’Ant Group, la filiale financière d’Alibaba, le régulateur viserait désormais Tencent, qui offre également des services financiers à travers le portefeuille numérique du réseau social WeChat. D’après l’agence Bloomberg, l’entreprise devrait être forcée de créer une holding financière soumise aux règles de la finance traditionnelle.

    Alors que les rumeurs sur une prochaine régulation se répandaient, l’action Tencent a chuté de plus de 8 % en fin de semaine dernière. « C’est un plan de régulation généralisé qui se déroule point par point », résume Jean-Dominique Seval, fondateur du cabinet de conseil Soon Consulting, et président de French Tech Beijing.

    Comme partout dans le monde, les géants de l’Internet n’échappent pas en Chine à la volonté de contrôler les nouveaux acteurs de l’économie. Dans un premier temps, Pékin a beaucoup favorisé ces entreprises, pour allumer des contre-feux à opposer aux GAFA (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon) américains, et accélérer la digitalisation de certains secteurs traditionnels, comme la finance.

    « Avec succès, estime M. Seval. Aujourd’hui, ils ont presque autant d’utilisateurs que Facebook et Google. Mais ils n’ont pas encore atteint leur plein potentiel, car le nombre d’internautes continue d’augmenter, et ils continuent à se diversifier. » Pour cet expert, ces groupes « peuvent encore doubler de taille, et devenir extrêmement puissants. On assiste à une course de vitesse entre ces géants et l’Etat qui cherche à les contrôler ».
    #Alibaba #Baidu #ByteDance #Tencent #Xiaomi #AntFinancial #AntGroup #TikTok #Clubhouse_ #WeChat #censure #domination #reconnaissance #écoutes #finance #surveillance (...)

    ##voix

  • La Commune, événement-monde
    https://laviedesidees.fr/Quentin-Deluermoz-Communes-1870-1871.html

    À propos de : Quentin Deluermoz, Commune(s), 1870-1871. Une traversée des mondes au #XIXe_siècle, Seuil. La Commune a cent cinquante ans. Quentin Deluermoz en propose une #Histoire globale, qui en explore le retentissement mondial dans l’espace et le temps.

    #révolution
    https://laviedesidees.fr/IMG/pdf/20210318_communes.pdf
    https://laviedesidees.fr/IMG/docx/20210318_communes.docx

  • Notes anthropologiques (LVII)

    Georges Lapierre

    https://lavoiedujaguar.net/Notes-anthropologiques-LVII

    Le commerce et le sacré

    Dans les emporia, ces comptoirs dédiés au commerce maritime en Méditerranée dans l’Antiquité, les archéologues ont découvert des vestiges de temples avec de nombreux ex-voto dédiés à la divinité. Les emporia sont installés dans des endroits stratégiques entre l’arrière-pays et la mer : il s’y concentre une intense activité commerciale, surtout à la fin du VIIe siècle avant notre ère. Ainsi le nom d’une richissime famille marchande d’Égine, les Sostratos, pourrait se retrouver dans des dédicaces à Apollon ou à Aphrodite à différentes époques et dans différents lieux de cet espace méditerranéen consacré au commerce. On a retrouvé les initiales S O qui pourraient être celles de Sostratos dans une dédicace à Aphrodite gravée sur un plat à Naucratis, comptoir marchand sur le delta du Nil. À Gravisca, autre site, cette fois sur la côte tyrrhénienne à proximité de Tarquinia, les archéologues ont mis au jour une ancre marine avec cette dédicace sur la barre transversale : « J’appartiens à Apollon d’Égine, Sostratos m’a fait… » L’offrande n’était pas isolée. Une dizaine d’autres jas d’ancre, sans inscription toutefois, ont été découverts dans le même sanctuaire. Enfin, on retrouve une dédicace à Apollon d’Égine dans le delta du Pô par un certain Sostratos.

    La religion avec ses temples et ses inscriptions votives est bien présente dans ces lieux entièrement voués au commerce. À Égine, dans la cité et dans l’île face à l’Attique, toute l’activité des citoyens semble bien orientée et dictée par le commerce maritime et lointain et les échanges marchands (...)

    #religion #commerce #échanges #sacré #Grèce_ancienne #Moyen_Âge #État #idéologie #Staline #Poutine #Xi_Jinping #Mexique #don #résistance #zapatistes

  • Joëlle Tolédano : « Si l’on ne fait que du droit face aux Gafa, on se fera balader »
    https://www.lopinion.fr/edition/economie/joelle-toledano-si-l-on-ne-fait-que-droit-face-aux-gafa-on-se-fera-231882

    Pour cette spécialiste de la régulation, « le cœur du problème réside dans la relation entre contenus, données personnelles et publicité ciblée » Joëlle Toledano est économiste et spécialiste de la régulation des marchés. Membre du collège de l’Autorité de régulation des communications électroniques et des postes (Arcep) de 2005 à 2011, elle est aujourd’hui professeure émérite associée à la chaire Gouvernance et régulation de Dauphine, et siège au board de plusieurs start-up du numérique. Votre dernier ouvrage (...)

    #Alibaba #Baidu #Google #Tencent #Xiaomi #Facebook #Instagram #WhatsApp #algorithme #domination #BigData #législation #microtargeting #publicité (...)

    ##publicité ##FTC

  • FANG and Faust : Reimagining Capitalism For a Stake in Our Data Profits
    https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2020-12-27/fang-and-faust-reimagining-capitalism-for-a-stake-in-our-data-profits

    There’s a Faustian bargain to make from Covid-19 that could increase our ownership of the 21st century. From interest rates to fashion, pandemics in the past — like the Black Death in the 14th century — have left deep imprints on economic life. This time may be no different. In the aftermath of the coronavirus, governments can reimagine capitalism by giving all of us a stake in the most valuable byproduct of our day-to-day living : data. But make no mistake. It will still be a Faustian (...)

    #FANG #Alibaba #Apple #Baidu #Google #MasterCard #Samsung #Tencent #Visa #Xiaomi #Amazon #Netflix #Paypal #Facebook #payement #consommation #consentement #domination #bénéfices #BHATX #BigData #COVID-19 #GAFAM #santé (...)

    ##santé ##[fr]Règlement_Général_sur_la_Protection_des_Données__RGPD_[en]General_Data_Protection_Regulation__GDPR_[nl]General_Data_Protection_Regulation__GDPR_ ##Jio

  • L’homme sans identité
    https://laviedesidees.fr/Herve-Mazurel-Kaspar-obscur-enfant-nuit.html

    À propos de : Hervé Mazurel, Kaspar l’obscur ou l’enfant de la nuit, La Découverte. Revenant sur l’énigme de Kaspar Hauser, l’historien Hervé Mazurel propose d’aborder ce cas quasi unique par le biais de la sensibilité. L’occasion d’une réflexion sur la #formation de la #conscience et la #socialisation.

    #Philosophie #Histoire #enfance #prison #XIXe_siècle
    https://laviedesidees.fr/IMG/pdf/20201202_kasparv4.pdf
    https://laviedesidees.fr/IMG/docx/20201202_kasparv4.docx

  • Geneva Human Rights Talks

    Les Geneva Human Rights Talks (GHRT) ouvriront la Semaine des droits humains en portant le regard sur différents aspects du respect de la dignité humaine : les données personnelles, le racisme institutionnel, la discrimination ethnique, et la question des prisonniers politiques.

    Les récits et témoignages des quatre personnalités invitées lors de cet événement interactif illustreront différents combats qui nécessitent encore et toujours un engagement sans faille.

    #Protection_des_données personnelles, un combat inégal et perdu d’avance ? (En français)
    Intervenant dans le documentaire The Great Hack de Netflix, #Paul_Olivier_Dehaye s’est distingué par son enquête sur la firme d’analyse de données #Cambridge_Analytica. Aujourd’hui, il est le fondateur de l’association #PersonalData.IO, œuvrant à rendre les #droits_à_la_protection_des_données effectifs et collectivement utiles.
    –-> il parle notamment de #algocratie

    Le #racisme_institutionnel, défis de nos sociétés ? (En français), à partir de 1:22:15


    #Rokhaya_Diallo est une journaliste française, autrice et réalisatrice reconnue pour son travail contre la discrimination raciale, de genre et religieuse. Elle a animé et co-écrit des émissions télévisées et a réalisé plusieurs documentaires. Elle est aussi active dans le domaine littéraire, s’exprimant à travers différentes créations. Elle est selon le New York Times « une des activistes anti-racistes les plus importantes en France ».

    Violation des droits de l’homme ou prévention du #séparatisme ? (In english)
    #Jewher_Ilham est la fille d’#Ilham_Tohti, un professeur qui s’est investi dans la lutte contre les discriminations et violations commises envers les #ouïghours, minorité ethnique en #Chine. Jewher Ilham témoignera de l’arrestation de son père, de ses efforts constants pour le libérer et de son engagement à faire en sorte que les minorités voient leurs droits préservés en Chine. Elle parlera également des #camps_de_rééducation du #Xinjiang et de ses suggestions pour prévenir les violations des droits humains qui s’y déroulent.

    #Prisonniers_politiques, criminels ou témoins de violations cachées des #droits_humains ? (En français)
    #Lakhdar_Boumediene était responsable humanitaire pour le Croissant-Rouge quand il a été emprisonné en 2002 à #Guantanamo pour des raisons politiques. En 2008, suite à sa demande, la Cour Suprême des États-Unis a reconnu le droit des détenus de Guantanamo de contester judiciairement la légalité de leur détention, indépendamment de leur nationalité. Il a ainsi été déclaré innocent et libéré en 2009. Depuis, il vit en France avec sa famille et il dénonce les traitements injustes et inhumains subis durant sa #détention ainsi que le phénomène des prisonniers politiques.

    https://www.unige.ch/cite/evenements/semaine-des-droits-humains/sdh2020/geneva-humain-rights-talk

    #vidéo

    ping @karine4 @isskein

  • 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.
    Crematories

    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)

    Cri_Hotan01_(Suspected)
    Cr_Artush_02 (Suspected)
    Cr_Hotan_02(Suspected)
    Cr_Urumqi_02 (Suspected)
    Cr_Urumqi_01 (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.
    https://miro.medium.com/max/653/1*umOMbKghZDqPPiy0TpGZ7w.png

    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.

    https://miro.medium.com/max/221/1*ln7TsCnetV75EKNcv4LBJg.png
    https://miro.medium.com/max/221/1*DtJKKnYJUH1K7p1_Pyyicw.png
    https://miro.medium.com/max/221/1*4dU7K9DK9agNbitNmLBT4g.png

    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.

    https://miro.medium.com/max/221/1*xFr73HSkbxVqDGNgicuVCQ.png
    https://miro.medium.com/max/221/1*Ylxp6Hk1Nj8AAkvvxXI21Q.png
    https://miro.medium.com/max/278/1*a4UgMAeLCBp9LvRfOuf6Tw.png
    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.

    https://miro.medium.com/max/512/1*GL1DwZmaqVdgUtaWsZHWdA.png

    https://miro.medium.com/max/303/1*Jr03h6ADK4_iNNfYP5YLkA.png
    https://miro.medium.com/max/328/1*RyzDtEa9SjE0WsBSwUaMfA.png

    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).
    https://miro.medium.com/max/389/1*w01GGfJZZlcNCWm5MR4csQ.png

    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.

    https://medium.com/@techjournalism/open-source-satellite-data-to-investigate-xinjiang-concentration-camps-2713c
    #camps_de_concentration #architecture_forensique #images_satellitaires #rééducation #ré-éducation #camps_de_rééducation #Chine #droits_humains #droits_fondamentaux #Tibet

    ping @reka @isskein @visionscarto

    • I scripted a screen capture of 8000 xinjiang satellite images and uploaded them to here

      Detention Facilities in Xinjiang China : Google Earth Satellite Timelapse : 2002-2020 : 新疆看守所卫星延时摄影
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fmoXVvU8G0c

      you can play them fast or find a location by latitude/longitude and step through one image at a time

      later i posted an addendum with another 20 sites, and showing China’s rebuttal to satellite evidence
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KHc-TdusgaI

      other possible relevant sites not in ETNAM or ASPI datasets, that I saw in Google Earth
      46.917, 87.837
      43.958, 87.555
      43.450, 82.738
      40.594, 81.111
      40.567, 81.525
      40.563, 81.252
      40.069, 79.471
      39.947, 79.415
      39.270, 88.906
      39.269, 88.849
      39.247, 88.963
      38.197, 85.384
      37.004, 81.617

  • 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.

    Conclusions

    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.

    Notes

    [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.

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  • Travail des enfants en Côte d’Ivoire : des plantations Fairtrade concernées
    https://www.rtbf.be/info/monde/detail_travail-des-enfants-en-cote-d-ivoire-des-plantations-fairtrade-concernee

    Une enquête de la télévision danoise l’affirme. Le travail des enfants dans les plantations de cacao certifiées Fairtrade en Côte d’Ivoire est bien réel.

    Ce label sur les bananes, le café ou encore le chocolat oblige les producteurs à répondre à certaines règles et notamment à ne pas recourir au travail des enfants.
    La chaîne TV 2 et le média d’investigation Danwatch ont tourné en caméra cachée dans plusieurs exploitations.
    Dans 4 des 6 plantations qu’ils ont visitées, ils ont trouvé des enfants travaillant entre les palmiers.
    Leur interview fait froid dans le dos. Marcelin, 14 ans, explique qu’il bosse 11 heures par jour.

    Diffusées au Danemark, les images ont choqué plus d’une personne et notamment les commerçants dont les boutiques vendent du chocolat ivoirien étiqueté Fairtrade.
    Dorthe Pedersen en est encore bouleversée. « C’est horrible. Je suis tellement émue de savoir que les enfants travaillent dans ces conditions » a-t-elle témoigné au micro des journalistes de TV2.

    Interrogée sur cette pratique, Camilla Erika Lerberg, la PDG de Fairtrade Danemark a déclaré : « Cette affaire est très, très triste, donc nous l’examinons avec gravité. Il est important pour nous de réagir et de corriger cela immédiatement. L’affaire fait toujours l’objet d’une enquête et nous essayons de comprendre ce qui s’est passé. En général, je tiens à dire que si nous recevons une observation du travail des enfants, et qu’elle est confirmée, alors nous avons un dialogue avec la famille de cet enfant, ensuite nous observerons si cela continue et si cela continue, nous procédons à une décertification. »

    Rappel des règles
    Les Standards Fairtrade pour les organisations de petits producteurs, les travailleuses et les travailleurs ainsi que les négociants interdisent le travail abusif des enfants.

    Chez Max Havelaar par exemple, il est clairement stipulé :

    – Il est interdit d’employer des enfants de moins de 15 ans au sein des organisations certifiées Fairtrade/Max Havelaar.

    - Les enfants de 15 à 18 ans ne peuvent pas réaliser un travail mettant en péril leur scolarité ou leur développement social, moral ou physique.

    – L’aide éventuelle dans les fermes familiales, courante dans le secteur agricole, doit être ponctuelle et adaptée à l’âge des enfants. Elle doit impérativement se faire en dehors des heures de classe et pendant les vacances. Dans ces conditions seulement, elle respecte les exigences de l’Organisation Internationale du Travail.
    Rien de neuf sous le soleil

    Le travail des enfants en Côte d’Ivoire, où on produit la majeure partie du cacao mondial, n’est pas un problème inconnu.

    En 2010, l’industrie du chocolat a collectivement signé une déclaration disant qu’elle améliorerait les conditions dans les plantations de cacao en Afrique de l’Ouest et réduirait le travail des enfants de 70% jusqu’en 2020.

    Seulement voilà, un rapport des chercheurs de l’Université de Chicago publié en avril dernier et financé par le département américain du Travail souligne que le recours au travail des enfants dans les plantations de cacao au Ghana et en Côte d’Ivoire a augmenté de 10% au cours de la dernière décennie, et ce, malgré les promesses de l’industrie.

    Plus précisément, le nombre d’enfants-travailleurs dans les plantations de cacao s’élevait à près de 2,1 millions la saison dernière dans les deux pays. Ce chiffre comprend des enfants de moins de 12 ans et des enfants également plus âgés dont le travail est dangereux et dépasse un certain nombre d’heures.

    Un niveau en hausse par rapport à 2010 lorsque Mars, Hershey, Nestlé et Cargill s’étaient engagés à baisser de 70% les pires formes de travail des enfants dans leurs chaînes d’approvisionnement dans la région d’ici 2020.

    Des chiffres qui s’expliqueraient par l’augmentation des prix et de la production de fèves qui poussent les agriculteurs à produire toujours davantage de cacao. Une tendance confirmée par le patron de la World Cocoa Foundation (WCF), au site Commodafrica. Richard Scobey, représentant des entreprises telles que Nestlé et Hershey, reconnaît que l’industrie n’est pas sur le point d’atteindre son objectif de 2020.

    Le Ghana et la Côte d’Ivoire produisent les deux-tiers de l’ensemble du cacao mondial. La production de cacao dans ces pays est passée à 3 millions de tonnes l’an dernier, contre 2,65 millions de tonnes en 2013-2014. Un secteur en expansion qui fournit des moyens de subsistances à des milliers de communautés dans le besoin.

    #Afrique #Enfants #travail_des_enfants #exploitation #esclavage #chocolat #cacao #certification #commerce_équitable #Fairtrade #multinationales #label #déforestation #industrie_agro-alimentaire #agriculture #multinationales #pauvreté #bananes #café #Mars #Hershey #Nestlé #Cargill #World_Cocoa_Foundation #WCF

    • Le dernier des Ouïghours et les derniers des journalistes Maxime VIVAS
      https://www.legrandsoir.info/le-dernier-des-ouighours-et-les-derniers-des-journalistes.html

      Voulez-vous soulever une vague mondiale d’indignation contre un pays ? Vous affirmez que les hommes y sont massivement emprisonnés et torturés, voire exécutés en catimini, que les femmes y sont stérilisées de force et qu’on y supplicie les enfants. C’est ce que vient de faire, ce que fait, ce que va continuer de faire la presse mondiale, agissant en porte-voix de quelques journaux états-uniens inspirés en sous-main par des officines de la Maison Blanche.

      Qu’il n’y ait pas un mot de vrai dans la campagne antichinoise sur les Ouïghours importe peu. Il suffit de prétendre, d’affirmer. L’information circule, les journaux se lisent entre eux, les politiques s’en mêlent. C’est faux mais plausible : Chine insondable, Chinois impénétrables derrière la fente de leurs yeux. Vous me suivez bien, vous qui êtes pour la plupart normaux, pardon : #blancs ?

      #Bruno_Le_Maire et #Clémentine_Autain sont #indignés et le font vertueusement savoir.
      C’est tout mensonge, mais le mal est fait. Ce n’est qu’après la destruction de l’#Irak et après des centaines de milliers de morts innocents que toute la presse concède que les informations sur les couveuses débranchées au #Koweit par les soudards de Saddam Hussein étaient inventées, que la fiole brandie par #Colin_Powell à l’#ONU contenait du pipi de son chat ou du sable de sa litière ou de la poudre de perlimpinpin et non des Armes de Destruction Massives qui risquaient d’avoir raison des USA, de la Grande-Bretagne et (horreur !) de la France.

      J’ai écrit plus haut qu’il n’y a « pas un mot de vrai dans la campagne antichinoise sur les Ouïghours ». La prudence ne voudrait-elle pas que je nuance : « Bien des choses sont inexactes dans la campagne antichinoise sur les Ouïgours ». Ou : « Certes, les Chinois ne sont pas des enfants de chœur, mais doit-on prendre au pied de la lettre les articles de Libération ? », ou encore : « Le problème que le régime chinois appelle « les trois fléaux » (terrorisme, séparatisme, fondamentalisme) est une réalité qu’on ne saurait nier, mais cela justifie-t-il une répression d’une telle ampleur ? ».

      Mais, tenez-vous bien, je persiste : « Il n’y a pas un mot de vrai dans la campagne antichinoise sur les Ouïghours » . Non, trois fois non, un ou deux millions de Ouïghours mâles (trois d’après Radio Free Asia) ne sont pas internés(1), les femmes ne sont pas stérilisées de force pour éteindre l’ethnie, les enfants ne sont pas tués pour prélèvement d’organes vendus à l’Arabie saoudite, Beijing n’est pas en guerre contre cette région autonome qui fait au contraire l’objet de toutes ses attentions, de toutes ses faveurs.

      J’ai écrit que « cette région autonome fait au contraire l’objet de toutes les attentions, de toutes les faveurs de Beijing. » ? La prudence ne voudrait-elle pas que je nuance : « Beijing gère ses régions avec l’autorité naturelle des communistes et le Xinjiang ne fait pas exception », ou : « Même si Beijing a mis le Xinjiang sous surveillance, des efforts financiers indéniables ont été consentis pour développer cette région, point de départ de « La nouvelle route de la soie ».

      Mais, continuez à bien vous tenir, j’insiste : « Cette région autonome fait l’objet de toutes les attentions, de toutes les faveurs de Beijing. »

      Je le dis aujourd’hui, en juillet 2020, avec la même assurance (inconscience ?) qui me fit écrire un livre en 2007 sur une idole alors aussi intouchable que #Nelson_Mandela. Je parle d’un type qui est aujourd’hui maire de #Béziers, élu avec le renfort du Front National.

      Je le dis aujourd’hui, en juillet 2020, avec la même certitude que celle qui me fit écrire un livre en 2011 sur une idole alors aussi intouchable que #Ghandi. Je parle de l’ancien bourreau du Tibet : le #dalaï_lama.

      Ça, c’est pour le passé. Je peux aussi performer sur le futur. Par exemple, j’ai une petite idée sur le passage de #Yannick_Jadot et #julien_Bayou dans le rang des ennemis de l’écologie, lesquels ont toujours un plat de lentille à offrir aux ambitieux peints en vert. Mais là n’est pas le sujet (j’en parle juste pour prendre date, pour triompher dans quelque temps : « Qui sait-y qui l’avait dit ? »).

      Un peuple qui oublie son passé est condamné à le revivre (Marx), un journaliste qui ne relit pas les #infaux de ses confrères est condamné à toujours utiliser les mêmes versions, ignorant que le truc a déjà été fait, à l’identique.

      Les journalistes se lisent entre eux (« La circulation circulaire de l’information ». Bourdieu). Mais parfois le psittacisme ne marche pas, des journalistes qui ont d’eux-mêmes une opinion qui les oblige à échapper aux caquetage des perroquets, se démarquent.

      Tenez, en 2010, j’étais au Tibet avec deux grands reporters des deux plus grands (par le tirage) quotidiens français : le Monde et le Figaro. J’en ai souvent parlé dans ces colonnes parce qu’il s’est passé un phénomène surprenant. Nous savions tous les trois (car nous lisons la presse et nous avons un autoradio et la télé) que le gouvernement de Beijing se livrait à un génocide au Tibet, que la culture était éradiquée et la religion férocement combattue. 
Ne me dites pas que vous ne le saviez pas vous aussi. « Free Tibet », vous ne découvrez pas en me lisant, là.

      Robert Ménard (aujourd’hui maire de la ville où naquit Jean Moulin) nous avait expliqué le drame tibétain en perturbant à Paris le passage de la flamme olympique pour les JO 2008 de Pékin. Le type qu’on voit avec lui dans les vidéos de l’époque, en t-shirt noir portant en sérigraphie 5 menottes symbolisant les 5 anneaux olympiques, c’est Jean-François Julliard qui a succédé à Ménard à la tête de RSF avant de devenir directeur général de Greenpeace France, fonction qui fait de lui un invité régulier des amphis d’été de LFI. Comprenne qui pourra (2).

      Donc on est au Tibet, mes deux comparses s’envoient des vannes rigolardes, l’un demandant à l’autre quel effet ça fait d’appartenir à des banquiers, l’autre répondant que le ressenti est sans doute le même que celui des journalistes qui sont la propriété d’un marchand d’armes. Ils sont allés voir sur Internet qui je suis. Ils m’épargnent. Je suis là, auréolé du prestige guerrier du Grand Soir, média rigoureux, fiable et qui frappe fort. Et sur qui le mérite. Message reçu jusque dans les montagnes tibétaines.

      Bref, tous les trois, ensemble, chacun sous le regard des autres, nous voyons le Tibet avec sa religion omniprésente, les temples pleins, les monastères grouillant de moinillons, les prières de rues, les montagnes souillées par des grossières peintures bouddhistes, des chapelets de drapeaux de prière claquant au vent. Un envahissement bigot jusqu’à la nausée pour l’athée que je suis.

      Tous les trois, ensemble, chacun sous le regard des autres, nous voyons les écoles où l’enseignement est fait en tibétain (jusqu’à l’université), nous voyons les panneaux indicateurs, les enseignes, les noms des rues rédigés en tibétain, ainsi que les journaux. La télé et la radio parlent le tibétain. Le doyen de l’université de LLassa nous montre une salle contenant des dizaines de milliers de livres en tibétain. Nous assistons aussi à des spectacles (danses, chants) tibétains.

      Tous les trois, ensemble, chacun sous le regard des autres, nous voyons des couples de tibétains accompagnés d’enfants (pas d’UN enfant). La politique de l’enfant unique n’a jamais été imposée au Tibet. D’où une explosion démographique favorisée par le quasi doublement de l’espérance de vie après la fuite du dalaï lama.

      De retour en France, tous les trois, chacun sachant que les autres vont le lire, nous écrivons ce que nous avons vu. Le croirez-vous, aucun n’a écrit que « le régime de Pékin » se livrait à un génocide, éradiquait la culture tibétaine et réprimait les bouddhistes ? Et puisque j’en suis aux confidences, je vous dirai que le journaliste du Figaro m’a envoyé son article et m’a demandé ce que j’en pensais (du bien, d’ailleurs). Le croirez-vous, les gens avec qui j’ai aujourd’hui l’occasion de parler de la Chine doivent surement tous lire Libération parce qu’ils m’expliquent tranquillement que les bouddhistes sont pourchassés dans un malheureux Tibet génocidé où parler le tibétain et prier c’est s’exposer à la prison ?

      Et maintenant, continuez à bien vous tenir, je prétends que si je partais au Xinjiang avec les deux grands reporters du Monde et du Figaro, chacun marquant l’autre « à la culotte », aucun n’écrirait au retour que Beijing se livre à un génocide contre les Ouïghours, brime leur religion, éradique leur culture, charcute les enfants.
Parce que ce n’est pas vrai.
Un peu quand même ? 
Non, pas du tout.
Les charniers de #Timisoara n’étaient pas vrais « un peu » . Les Gilets jaunes n’ont pas envahi « un peu » l’hôpital de la Pitié-Salpétrière, Nicolas Maduro n’a pas été « un peu » élu contre Juan Guaido (qui n’était pas candidat, je le rappelle aux distraits), etc. (3).

      Si je partais au #Xinjiang (j’y suis allé deux fois) avec Renaud Girard et Rémy Ourdan, ils s’affranchiraient des informateurs yankees et autres menteurs professionnels, ils se distingueraient de leurs confères qui écrivent des articles d’une telle débilité qu’ils sont des insultes aux lecteurs, des crachats sur la charte des journalistes. Ils feraient leur job en se respectant.

      #Beijing hait les enfants #ouïghours jusqu’à les tuer pour prélèvement d’organes ? C’est #Goebbels qui vous le dit. Il peut même faire témoigner (de dos) un chirurgien masqué dont le nom a été changé et la voix modifiée. Goebbels peut pondre un article terrifiant à coups de conditionnels, de « selon des témoins… », de « certaines sources affirment… », de « il semblerait que…. », de « un diplomate aurait constaté », « des Ouïghours auraient disparu… » de « des organisation de défense des droits de l’homme… ». Un conditionnel dix fois répété devient un indicatif certifié.

      La caisse dans laquelle le félin #Goebbels se soulage volontiers s’appelle #Libération.

      Il y a quelques années, Le Grand Soir avait démontré qu’un article traficoté de Libération avait fait de Hugo Chavez un antisémite (« Le Credo antisémite de Hugo Chavez » https://www.legrandsoir.info/chavez-antisemitisme-et-campagne-de-desinformation-a-propos-d-un-artic ).

      Un échange vigoureux et public avait alors eu lieu entre Le Grand Soir et Libération. Nous avions les preuves, nous les avons fournies. Irréfutables. Nous avons mis en regard la phrase de Chavez et la même, après troncature par Libération. Libération ergota (4). Pour ses lecteurs, Chavez est donc resté un antisémite. Pour les lecteurs des autres médias aussi, qui choisirent de se taire pour ne pas désavouer Libération. Le clan, la #mafia

      Le journaliste coupable de cette crapulerie est #Jean-Hébert_Armengaud, promu depuis rédacteur en chef de #Courrier_International et son N+1 à Libé, qui l’a couvert jusqu’au bout, est #Pierre_Haski, aujourd’hui chroniqueur tous les matins sur #France_Inter . Promotions au mérite.

      Alors, je le redis ici en invitant mes lecteurs à vérifier : les Ouïghours et les #Tibétains sont de plus en plus (et spectaculairement) nombreux, leur culture est préservée et promue comme jamais dans leur Histoire, leur religion est (trop) libre, l’instruction fait des progrès considérables, les deux républiques autonomes du Xinjiang et du #Tibet votent des lois dont aucune ne permet d’encager les citoyens au simple motif de leur croyance, de stériliser de force les femmes ou d’amputer les enfants.

      Pour répondre plus avant à la déferlante de mensonges sur le Xinjiang, il me faudrait citer des pages entières de mon livre « Le dalaï lama pas si zen » . On pourrait croire que les instigateurs des campagnes mondiales de mensonges ont un logiciel unique avec des cases sur lesquelles cliquer pour que ça démarre.

      La #stérilisation ? « Des villages entiers » (Voir les Mémoires du dalaï lama, longuement citées dans « Le dalaï lama, pas si zen »). 
Le #génocide ? « Observateur critique de la politique chinoise, le Britannique Patrick French, directeur de la « Free Tibet Campaign » (Campagne pour l’indépendance du Tibet) a pu consulter les archives du gouvernement du Dalaï-Lama en exil. Il a découvert que les preuves du génocide étaient des faux et il a démissionné de son poste » (« Le dalaï lama, pas si zen »).

      Cependant, la publicité faite en Occident à cette affaire d’extermination (par la stérilisation et des massacres) de la population tibétaine, a largement contribué hier à un élan de compassion pour le Tibet et le bouddhisme. Aujourd’hui les mensonges « hénaurmes » sur le Xinjiang font pleurnicher les gogos, soudain épris de cette région dont ils seraient bien en peine de citer la Capitale (5).
Ce n’est pas Laurent Joffrin, Pierre Haski, Jean-Hébert Armengaud qui le déploreront.

      Je ne sais pas à qui pense l’excellente humoriste #Blanche_Gardin quand elle affirme (un peu trop crument pour être citée par un site de bonne tenue comme Le Grand Soir) que « Nous vivons dans un pays où les journalistes sucent plus de bites que les prostituées ».

      Maxime VIVAS

      Notes. 
(1) Si l’on rapporte le chiffre de #Radio_Free_Asia au nombre de Ouïghours mâles adultes, il n’en reste pas un dans les rues. Or, continuez à vous tenir bien : j’en ai vus !
      
(2) Il serait injuste de ne pas mentionner les positions exemplaires( et dignes d’un chef d’Etat) de Jean-Luc Mélenchon sur la Chine. Au demeurant, je lui sais gré de me citer et d’inviter ses contradicteurs à me lire ici et ici sur ce sujet où nous sommes synchrones, même si j’ai une liberté d’expression qu’il ne peut avoir. 

      (3) Anecdote personnelle. Me trouvant avec mon fils aîné au commissariat de police de Toulouse le samedi 4 mai 2020 pour nous enquérir du sort de mon fils cadet, Gilet jaune arrêté pour rien dans la manif (Il fut jugé en « comparution immédiate » et acquitté après 42 heures de #GAV) nous apprîmes qu’il s’était tailladé les mains pour écrire avec son sang sur les murs de sa cellule. Nous avons vécu avec cette information terrifiante (que nous cachâmes à sa mère) jusqu’au lundi 6 mai où, devant le tribunal, il apparut, les mains intactes. Il ne se les était même pas « un peu » tailladées. L’automutilation des mains était aussi vraie que l’amputation des enfants ouïghours. Nombre de #journaleux ont un flic dans leur tête.
      
(4) J’aime à raconter cette histoire du Figaro écrivant qu’un film de #Jean_Yanne était « un monument de bêtise ». Jean Yanne s’en servit ainsi dans ses pubs : « Le Figaro : « un monument ! ».
      
(5) #Urumqi, 2 millions d’habitants.
      #merdias #journullistes #médias #propagande #us #usa #Jamestown_Foundation #libération

  • En Inde, la plus grande application de traçage du monde soulève des craintes
    https://www.mediapart.fr/journal/international/090620/en-inde-la-plus-grande-application-de-tracage-du-monde-souleve-des-crainte

    Destinée à lutter contre l’épidémie, l’application Aarogya Setu (téléchargée par un Indien sur dix) est attaquée en raison de sa collecte de données et de sa gestion opaque. Le gouvernement a fait des concessions, mais des inquiétudes persistent. Bangalore (Inde), correspondance.– Plus fort que Pokémon Go : avec 50 millions de téléchargements en 13 jours, Aarogya Setu (« Pont vers la santé » en hindi), l’application de traçage Covid-19 dévoilée le 2 avril par l’Inde, est entrée dans l’histoire. Elle vise à (...)

    #hacking #BigData #métadonnées #consentement #technologisme #géolocalisation #contactTracing #GPS #smartphone #AarogyaSetu_ #algorithme (...)

    ##Xiaomi

  • Le Covid, les données de santé et Microsoft
    https://blogs.mediapart.fr/les-invites-de-mediapart/blog/270520/le-covid-les-donnees-de-sante-et-microsoft

    « L’Europe juridique doit se réveiller, entraînée par la France et la pression de l’opinion. Elle doit proposer une troisième voie pour garantir un avenir numérique compatible avec nos démocraties » réclame dans cette tribune-pétition de nombreux professionnels de la santé et du numérique, entre autres. Un lien est en ligne pour la signer. Une information loyale et éclairée Le taux d’alphabétisation numérique - la capacité à lire et écrire le langage informatique - est extraordinairement bas [1]. Notre (...)

    #Alibaba #Apple #Google #Microsoft #Tencent #Xiaomi #Amazon #Baidu #Facebook #HealthDataHub #BigData #santé #BATX (...)

    ##santé ##GAFAM

  • Dans les eaux troubles du numérique
    https://zintv.org/dans-les-eaux-troubles-du-numerique

    Depuis ses débuts, Inter­net s’est déve­lop­pé en paral­lèle et avec des tech­niques de contrôle, de sur­veillance et de répres­sion, dont les consé­quences sont de plus en plus visibles durant cette période de coro­na­vi­rus. Premier lieu commun : Internet est entré dans les mœurs. Consulter ses mails, partager des fichiers, obtenir une information en ligne font aujourd’hui — pour une écrasante majorité d’entre nous — partie des gestes du quotidien. Deuxième lieu commun : Internet ouvre un monde de possibilités. (...)

    #Alibaba #Apple #Google #Intel #Microsoft #Orange #Tencent #Tesla #Xiaomi #Airbnb #Amazon #Facebook #Netflix #Uber #algorithme #Bluetooth #drone #smartphone #StopCovid #activisme #anti-terrorisme #censure #contactTracing #géolocalisation (...)

    ##consentement ##domination ##prédiction ##BATX ##bénéfices ##COVID-19 ##écoutes ##GAFAM ##MinorityReport ##profiling ##santé ##surveillance ##LaQuadratureduNet

  • Coronavirus and the Blindness of Authoritarianism - The Atlantic
    https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2020/02/coronavirus-and-blindness-authoritarianism/606922

    par Zeynep Tufekci

    Authoritarian blindness is a perennial problem, especially in large countries like China with centralized, top-down administration. Indeed, Xi would not even be the first Chinese ruler to fall victim to the totality of his own power. On August 4, 1958, buoyed by reports pouring in from around the country of record grain, rice, and peanut production, an exuberant Chairman Mao Zedong wondered how to get rid of the excess, and advised people to eat “five meals a day.” Many did, gorging themselves in the new regime canteens and even dumping massive amounts of “leftovers” down gutters and toilets. Export agreements were made to send tons of food abroad in return for machinery or currency. Just months later, perhaps the greatest famine in recorded history began, in which tens of millions would die because, in fact, there was no such surplus. Quite the opposite: The misguided agricultural policies of the Great Leap Forward had caused a collapse in food production. Yet instead of reporting the massive failures, the apparatchiks in various provinces had engaged in competitive exaggeration, reporting ever-increasing surpluses both because they were afraid of reporting bad news and because they wanted to please their superiors.

    Mao didn’t know famine was at hand, because he had set up a system that ensured he would hear lies.

    Smart rulers have tried to create workarounds to avoid this authoritarian dilemma. Dynastic China, for example, had institutionalized mechanisms to petition the emperor: a right that was theoretically granted to everyone, including the lowest farmers and the poorest city dwellers. This system was intended to check corruption in provinces and uncover problems, but in practice, it was limited in many ways, filtered through courtiers to a single emperor, who could listen to only so many in a day. Many rulers also cultivated their own independent sources of information in far-flung provinces.

    Thanks to technology, there is a much more robust option for authoritarians in the 21st century: big-data analytics in a digital public sphere. For a few years, it appeared that China had found a way to be responsive to its citizens without giving them political power. Researchers have shown, for example, that posts on Weibo (China’s Twitter) complaining about problems in governance or corruption weren’t all censored. Many were allowed to stay up, allowing crucial information to trickle up to authorities. For example, viral posts about forced demolitions (a common occurrence in China) or medical mistreatment led to authorities sacking the officials involved, or to victim compensation that would otherwise not have occurred. A corrupt official was even removed from office after outraged netizens on social media pointed out the expensive watches he wore, which were impossible to buy on his government salary.

    The public sphere in China during those years wasn’t a free-for-all, to be sure. One couldn’t call for collective action or for deposing the central government. But social media gave citizens a voice and a way to make an impact, and it served as an early-warning system for party leaders. (The only other topic that seemed to be off-limits was the censors themselves—researchers found that they eagerly zapped complaints directed at them.)

    Unlike books, though, apps can spy on people.

    One hundred million or so people in China have been, ahem, persuaded to download a party-propaganda app named “Study Xi, Strong Nation,” which makes users watch inculcation videos and take quizzes in a gamified, points-based system. It also allegedly gives the government access to the complete contents of users’ phones. It almost doesn’t matter whether the app contains such backdoor access or not: Reasonable people will act as if it does and be wary in all of their communications. Xi has also expanded China’s system of cameras linked to facial-recognition databases, which may someday be able to identify people everywhere they go. Again, the actual workings of the system are secondary to their chilling effects: For ordinary people, the safe assumption is that if they are in the wrong place at the wrong time, the authorities will know.

    An earlier hint that Xi’s China was falling into authoritarian blindness came during the ongoing Hong Kong protests. The demonstrations had started over a minor demand—the withdrawal of an extradition bill of little strategic importance to Beijing. Protest is the traditional way that Hong Kongers, who do not have full voting rights, express discontent. But this time the Beijing insiders miscalculated. They genuinely believed that the real cause for the Hong Kong unrest was the high rents on the densely populated island, and also thought that the people did not support the protesters. Authoritarian blindness had turned an easily solvable problem into a bigger, durable crisis that exacted a much heavier political toll, a pattern that would repeat itself after a mysterious strain of pneumonia emerged in a Wuhan seafood market.

    In early December, a strange cluster of patients from a local seafood market, which also sold wildlife for consumption, started showing up in Wuhan hospitals. These initial patients developed a fever and pneumonia that did not seem to be caused by any known viruses. Given the SARS experience of 2003, local doctors were quickly alarmed. With any such novel virus, medical providers are keen to know how it spreads: If the virus is unable to spread from human to human, it’s a tragedy, but a local one, and for only a few people. If it can sustainably spread from human to human, as was the case with SARS, it could turn into a global pandemic, with potentially massive numbers of victims.

    Given exponential growth dynamics of infectious diseases, containing an epidemic is straightforward early on, but nearly impossible once a disease spreads among a population. So it’s maximally important to identify and quarantine candidate cases as early as possible, and that means leadership must have access to accurate information.

    Before the month of December was out, the hospitals in Wuhan knew that the coronavirus was spreading among humans. Medical workers who had treated the sick but never visited the seafood market were falling ill. On December 30, a group of doctors attempted to alert the public, saying that seven patients were in isolation due to a SARS-like disease. On the same day, an official document admitting both a link to the seafood market and a new disease was leaked online. On December 31, facing swirling rumors, the Wuhan government made its first official announcement, confirming 27 cases but, crucially, denying human-to-human transmission. Teams in hazmat suits were finally sent to close down the seafood market, though without explaining much to the befuddled, scared vendors. On January 1, police said they had punished eight medical workers for “rumors,” including a doctor named Li Wenliang, who was among the initial group of whistleblowers.

    While the unsuspecting population of Wuhan, a city of 11 million, went about its business, the local government did not update the number of infected people from January 5 to January 10. But the signs of sustained human-to-human transmission grew. Emergency wards were filling up, not just with people who had been to the seafood market, but with their family members as well. On January 6, Li noticed an infection in the scan of a fellow doctor, but officials at the hospital “ordered him not to disclose any information to the public or the media.” On January 7, another infected person was operated on, spreading the disease to 14 more medical workers.

    It’s not clear why Xi let things spin so far out of control. It might be that he brushed aside concerns from his aides until it was too late, but a stronger possibility is that he did not know the crucial details. Hubei authorities may have lied, not just to the public but also upward—to the central government. Just as Mao didn’t know about the massive crop failures, Xi may not have known that a novel coronavirus with sustained human-to-human transmission was brewing into a global pandemic until too late.

    It’s nearly impossible to gather direct evidence from such a secretive state, but consider the strong, divergent actions before and after January 20—within one day, Hubei officials went from almost complete cover-up and business as usual to shutting down a whole city.

    #Zeynep_Tufekci #Coronavirus #Xi_Jinping #Autoritarisme #Information #Alerte

  • Xiaomi, Amazon, Wyze : la sécurité des caméras domestiques en plein débâcle
    https://cyberguerre.numerama.com/2100-xiaomi-amazon-wyze-la-securite-des-cameras-domestiques-mi

    En moins d’un mois, trois modèles de caméra domestique fabriqués par des entreprises plus ou moins connues ont fait l’objet de problèmes de sécurité. Entre fuite de données massives, mots de passe exposés et bug vidéo, la mauvaise publicité s’accumule au fil des affaires pour ce type d’objet connecté. Depuis décembre 2019, les failles de sécurité liées aux caméras connectées font les choux gras des médias généralistes et spécialistes. Il faut dire que les produits concernés appartiennent en premier lieu à des (...)

    #Google #Nest #Xiaomi #Amazon #Alexa #CCTV #WiFi #data #hacking #Wyze #bug

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