Human Rights Watch: Chinese police using app to store data on Uighur Muslims

02.05.2019

Chinese police are using a mobile app to store data on 13 million ethnic minority Uighurs and other Turkic Muslims in Xinjiang province, Human Rights Watch revealed in a new report on Thursday. 

The app, known as the Integrated Joint Operations Platform, is being used to store information from the height and weight of individuals to facial recognition scans. It also notes "suspicious" behaviour like whether an individual fails to socialise with their neighbours, fails to use their front door, or uses a noticeably large amount of electricity. 

The app can be used at checkpoints to flag "suspicious" individuals. 

"The goal is apparently to identify patterns of and predict, the everyday life and resistance of its population and, ultimately, to engineer and control reality," Human Rights Watch said in the report. 

The rights watchdog worked with German security firm Cure53 to reverse engineer the app in late 2018 to provide "an unprecedented window into how mass surveillance actually works in Xinjiang," it said. 

China has led an increasingly repressive campaign in Xinjiang following a series of knife attacks and ethnic riots over the past 10 years. 

Rights activists estimate that 1 million Uighurs and other Muslims are currently in internment camps in Xinjiang, where they are undergoing forced assimilation. China claims the camps are vocational training centres. 

Many are also forced to host government monitors in their own homes and undergo other forms of regular surveillance. 

Human Rights Watch said Beijing has already collected "DNA samples, fingerprints, iris scans and blood types of all residents between the age of 12 and 65" as well as voice samples.     (dpa)

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