The nation which will soon boast the largest GDP in the world – China – is using digital technology to secretly detain and imprison tens of thousands of its citizens for so-called political crimes that range from expressing “extremist” thoughts to merely traveling or studying abroad.
This police state is part of a sweeping effort by Chinese authorities to use detentions and data-driven CCTV surveillance especially in the region of Xinjiang and over its ten million Uighurs, a Turkic-speaking Muslim minority that China says has been influenced by Islamic extremism.
Meanwhile, China’s state-run Xinhua news service has just announced that China’s State Council Information Office has declared China is making “remarkable progress” on improving human rights:
China has opened a new era of human rights protection and is now contributing to the diversity of human civilization and providing Chinese wisdom and solutions to promote social progress.
The truth is that China currently has installed 176 million surveillance cameras , and it shooting for 626 million by 2020. Since China has 1.4 billion citizens, there will be almost one camera for every two persons.
China’s Yin Jun, spokesman for camera manufacturer Dahua Technology, explained:
We can match every face with an ID card and trace all your movements back one week in time. We can match your face with your car, match you with your relatives and the people you’re in touch with. With enough cameras, we can know who you frequently meet.
The government of China enjoys boasting, and to prove the merit of their Big Brother technology, a BBC reporter was invited to mix in with the 3.5 million residents of Guiyang. The test was to see how long it would take police to apprehend him after they fed his photo into security computers.
The massive facial recognition database contains the image of every Guiyang resident, and the reporter was given a head start. Then the Artificial Intelligence system was given his photo and told to find him.
Seven minutes later he was apprehended by police, and that includes the time for officers to gather and run to his location.