Human Rights Watch

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China: How Mass Surveillance Works in Xinjiang

‘Reverse Engineering’ Police App Reveals Profiling, Monitoring Strategies

Wednesday 01 May 2019


*** MORE APP GRAPHICS MAY BE AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST ***

(New York, May 2, 2019) – Chinese authorities are using a mobile app to carry out illegal mass surveillance and arbitrary detention of Muslims in China’s western Xinjiang region, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The report, “‘China’s Algorithms of Repression’: Reverse Engineering a Xinjiang Police Mass Surveillance App,” presents new evidence about the surveillance state in Xinjiang, where the government has subjected 13 million Turkic Muslims to heightened repression as part of its “Strike Hard Campaign against Violent Terrorism.” Between January 2018 and February 2019, Human Rights Watch was able to reverse engineer the mobile app that officials use to connect to the Integrated Joint Operations Platform (IJOP), the Xinjiang policing program that aggregates data about people and flags those deemed potentially threatening. By examining the design of the app, which at the time was publicly available, Human Rights Watch found that Xinjiang authorities are collecting a wide array of information from ordinary people.

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