Summary of “China’s Xinjiang surveillance is the dystopian future nobody wants”

Xinjiang is the home to the Uyghurs, a Turkic people who mostly follow Islam and have a distinct culture and language.
“Abuses are most apparent in Xinjiang because of the lack of privacy protections but also because the power imbalance between the people there and the police is the greatest in China,” said Maya Wang, China researcher at Human Rights Watch.
According to Adrian Zenz, a lecturer at the European School of Culture and Theology who has written extensively about the police presence in Xinjiang and Tibet, the region’s security forces doubled between 2009 and 2011 to more than 11,000 people.
It kept growing: In 2017, he documented more than 65,000 public job advertisements for security-related positions in Xinjiang, and last year Amnesty International estimated that there were 90,000 security staff in the region, the highest ratio of people to security in any province in China.
It started with a drive to put up security cameras in the aftermath of the 2009 riots before evolving into something far more sophisticated, as Xinjiang turned into a place for state-connected companies to test all of their surveillance innovations.
Today, Xinjiang has both a massive security presence and ubiquitous surveillance technology: facial-recognition cameras; iris and body scanners at checkpoints, gas stations and government facilities; the collection of DNA samples for a massive database; mandatory apps that monitor messages and data flow on Uyghurs’ smartphones; drones to monitor the borders.
“But to do that in combination with a large DNA database of up to 40 million people and to integrate those methods with other modes of surveillance and intrusion – that represents a very new frontier and approach when it comes to online surveillance and oppression.”
Violence in the region has fallen as riots, protests and attacks are now rare in Xinjiang.

The orginal article.