Huawei ethnicity-recognition tech tracks Uighurs


Top Chinese technology firms have registered patents for tools apparently designed to detect, track and monitor Uighurs, according to research by the Pennsylvania-based video surveillance watchdog group IPVM. A 2018 patent filed by Shenzhen-based tech giant Huawei with the State Intellectual Property Office (since reorganized as the China National Intellectual Property Administration, CNIPA) lists attributes by which an individual may be targeted, including “race (Han, Uighur).” This comes a month after IPVM released details of a document issued by Huawei and its Beijing-based corporate partner Megvii, “Huawei Video Cloud Solution and Megvii Dynamic Face Recognition Interoperability Test Report,” which boasted of a “Uighur alarm” among the “basic functions of Megvii’s facial recognition system.”

“We cannot ignore the fact that these technologies have been developed in order to be able to efficiently carry out…brutal oppression,”¬†Rushan Abbas, executive director of the DC-based Campaign for Uyghurs, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. The Chinese embassy in Washington DC said cameras operated in public places in China and Xinjiang do not “target any specific ethnicity.” (More at BBC News, BBC News,¬†WaPo)


  1. US Congressional Commission: ‘possible genocide’ against Uighurs

    The Congressional Executive Commission on China (CECC) released its¬†annual report¬†on human rights in China Jan. 14, declaring that the People’s Republic has possibly committed genocide against Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. In a¬†video statement, CECC chair James McGovern (D-MA) encouraged¬†the incoming Biden administration to “use the reporting and recommendations contained in this report to hold the Chinese government accountable,” and release “a formal determination of whether atrocity crimes, including crimes against humanity and genocide, are occurring in¬†Xinjiang.” (Jurist)

  2. Pompeo declares China’s actions against Uighurs ‘genocide’

    With just one day left in President Trump’s term, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo¬†announced¬†that he has officially determined that China’s campaign of mass internment, forced labor and forced sterilization of over 1 million Muslim minorities in Xinjiang constitutes “genocide”¬†and “crimes against humanity.” (Axios,¬†Politico,¬†NPR)

  3. China sanctions Pompeo, other Trump admin officials

    China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs  announced Jan. 21 that it is imposing sanctions on 28 individuals, including former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, former National Security Advisor John Bolton and former White House strategiest Steve Bannon for violating China’s sovereignty. The sanctions prohibit the individuals from entering the mainland, Hong Kong and Macao. In addition, the individuals and any institutions associated with them are not allowed to do business with China. (Jurist)

  4. Twitter locks account of Chinese Embassy

    Twitter has locked the account of the Chinese Embassy in the US for a tweet that defended China’s policies in the Xinjiang region, which the social media platform said violated the firm’s policy against “dehumanization.” The Chinese Embassy account, @ChineseEmbinUS, tweeted this month that Uighur women were no longer “baby making machines,”¬†citing a study reported by state-backed newspaper¬†China Daily. (CBC)

  5. Accounts of rape and torture in Xinjiang camps

    Uyghur advocacy groups have renewed calls for the international community to take action after the BBC published horrifying new accounts of rape and torture in China’s network of internment camps in Xinjiang.¬†The¬†BBC spoke to several women¬†who said they had been subjected to systematic sexual violence¬†from guards in the camps. (Radio Australia)

  6. Whither Adrian Zenz?

    Given the alarming tendency of some¬†some “leftists”¬†(sic) in the West to actually¬†defend China’s detention state, we will here beat them to the punch in their inevitable effort to discredit¬†Tursunay Ziawudun, the survivor of the Xinjiang camps who provided the principal accounts of sexual abuse for the above-cited¬†BBC report. These critics will doubtless point to the role of researcher¬†Adrian Zenz¬†in securing her testimony, and not fail to mention his anti-communist and right-wing Christian proclivities (as¬†Chinese state media¬†certainly have). They may also refer back to initial reports after Ziyawudun fled China last year (e.g.¬†BuzzFeed, Feb. 15, 2020) in which¬†she stated she was merely “terrified she might be raped,”¬†as other women at the camp were‚ÄĒimplying she herself had escaped this fate. She has now apparently changed her story. We await the scrutiny of legitimate voices such as Amnesty International on this seeming inconsistency. As for Zenz’s politics, we will point out that the Chinese state has certainly¬†made propaganda use¬†of racism and police brutality in the US. That does not mean those things do not exist.

  7. Whither Amelia Pang?

    By way of example… Ben Norton,¬†resident defender of the Chinese dictatorship¬†at the vile¬†Grayzone, takes great glee in pointing out that a recent¬†New York Times¬†op-ed accusing China of genocide against the Uighurs is written by¬†Amelia Pang, who “happens to be a former employee of the Epoch Times, a far-right propaganda arm of a fanatical anti-China cult called Falun Gong.”

    A review of the¬†biography¬†on Pang’s website reveals nothing about former employment at Epoch Times, but does note such legit¬†bona fides¬†as her forthcoming book,¬†Made in China: A Prisoner, an SOS Letter, and the Hidden Cost of America’s Cheap Goods. She does have some¬†bylines at Epoch Times¬†but none of them reflect the paper’s outdated anti-communist ideology (which we¬†have noted).

    We will add that while Falun Gong is definitely wacky and obscurantist, it is also true that their followers have met with harsh repression in China, and human rights are not a reward for good politics, thank you. We will also add that the politics of the dictatorship-shilling Grayzone are no better than those of Epoch Times or Falun Gong. So Norton is in no position to judge Amelia Pang.

    It is, hopefully, superfluous to point out the irony that a publication that purports to be on the “left” is objectively on the side of capitalist corporations that exploit slave labor in China. And the writer they are accusing of a “far-right” taint is working to oppose this exploitation. Through the proverbial looking glass.

  8. Also… ‘anti-China’?

    Another cheap propaganda trick of Norton’s is calling Epoch Times/Falun Gong “anti-China.” This is transparent bosh. A review of their manifesto,¬†Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party, as well as thier stage production¬†Shen Yun¬†and the very name of their online televsion voice,¬†New Tang Dynasty, all reveal a reverence for traditional Chinese culture and nostalgia for the glories of its civilization, and enmity for the CCP as the desecrater of this legacy. The Chinese Communist Party is not China, Ben.

  9. Legal opinion finds ‘very credible case’ for genocide of Uighurs

    There is a “very credible case”¬†that the Chinese government has committed acts against the Uighur population in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) that constitute genocide and crimes against humanity, according to a 105-page¬†legal opinion.

    The¬†Global Legal Action Network, the¬†World Uyghur Congress¬†and the¬†Uyghur Human Rights Project¬†instructed barristers for¬†Essex Court Chambers, to write the opinion entitled “International Criminal Responsibility for Crimes against Humanity and Genocide against the Uyghur Population in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.”¬†Although the opinion focuses on the Uighur population, it notes that the evidence suggested that “other groups of Turkic origin may also be subject to similar or related forms of treatment in XUAR.”

    As a party to the¬†Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, China has a responsibility “to prevent and to punish”¬†genocide, but the opinion notes that no efforts in that direction are known.

    In a¬†press release, the World Uyghur Congress stated: “The significance of these findings is far reaching. If a court reaches the same conclusions as those reached by the legal experts at Essex Court Chambers, it could have both political and legal consequences for China itself, and for the high-ranking officials whose individual responsibility is identified, and who may be liable for criminal prosecution and individual sanctions.” (Jurist)

  10. Netherlands, Canada call mass internment of Uighurs ‘genocide’

    The Dutch Parliament on Feb. 25 passed a non-binding motion declaring that China’s ongoing detention of Uighur Muslims in internment camps amounts to genocide. The Canadian House of Commons passed a similar resolution days earlier. (Jurist) 

    Beijing has launched a media counter-offensive, distributing two volumes to journalists¬†titled, “The Truth About Xinjiang: Exposing the US-Led Lies and Slanders.”

    During a regular daily press briefing last week, foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin held up images of witnesses who had described sexual abuse in Xinjiang. He charged that the account of one of them, presumably Tursunay Ziawudun, was “lies and rumors”¬†because she had not recounted the experience in previous interviews.

    In January, the Twitter account of China‚Äôs US¬†embassy was suspended for a tweet that said Uighur women had been “baby-making machines”¬†before Beijing instituted its system of mass internment.¬†(Reuters)

  11. Uighur workers relocated in effort to ‘assimilate’

    Relocating Uighurs to industrial workplaces elsewhere in China “not only reduces Uighur population density in Xinjiang, but also is an important method to influence, fuse and assimilate Uighur minorities,” researchers with the China Institute of Wealth & Economics at Nankai University wrote in a detailed report submitted to senior levels of the Chinese government and obtained by the¬† BBC. (More at Globe & MailBBC News)