More than 1 million Muslims have been detained in China under a digital authoritarian regime—and Representative Adam Schiff is urging the U.S. to take action.
“Imagine a world in which your every move is surveilled by the government,” he said. “This may sound like a dystopian novel, but for millions of Chinese citizens, this is reality.”
Today in the country, more than one million people, predominantly ethnic Uyghurs and other Muslim minority groups are being held in “political education camps” in China’s Xinjiang Province.
“In Xinjiang, surveillance and discrimination is literally hardcoded into everyday life,” Schiff said. “New reporting from Human Rights Watch has revealed disturbing details about a mobile app that police and other Chinese officials are using to collect extraordinary amounts of personal data for their national system of mass surveillance, called the Integrated Joint Operations Platform, or the IJOP.”
The IJOP flags suspicious or abnormal behavior, prompting a state investigation, with punishments that can include detention in a state camp. Not only is this an intense invasion of privacy, but much of the behavior flagged is perfectly legal, and it being used to persecute different marginalized groups.
Schiff says the U.S. can aid in the problem by imposing targeting sanctions, including via bans and asset freezes on senior Chinese officials linked to abuses.
“The situation in Xinjing has implications for global privacy norms, and this is too dire for us not to act,” he said.