China has installed QR codes on the doorplates of Uyghur Muslim homes.
China has now added a QR code security measure to its mass security crackdown on Uyghurs, a majority-Muslim Turkic population, living in the western part of Xinjiang, an autonomous region in China. The two-dimensional qr code has been added to the doorplates of Uyghur homes, with the codes containing personal information about the occupants, Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported.
The codes were installed on homes more than a year ago.
The “smart” doorplates are scanned by Officials before entering homes to monitor the inhabitants. Chinese authorities claim that the QR code security helps with population control and the delivery of services.
However, HRW researcher Maya Wang and the 58 former Xinjiang residents she interviewed, who now live abroad, tell a very different story about these door codes and China’s increased security measures against the Uyghur, reported the Independent.
“Starting from spring 2017, in every home where one enters there’s a QR code,” a former resident Xinjiang, who has since left, told HRW.
“Then every two days, or every day, the cadres come and scan the QR code, so they know how many people live here – and starting around then, they would ask [our] visitors, ‘Why are you here?’ In the evenings the cadres would check as well.”
The QR code security joins the many other oppressive security measures China has put into place.
The implementation of the QR codes is just the tip of the iceberg in what has become a long list of repressive policies China has carried out against the Turkic Muslim people, according to the HRW report.
The report states that it “presents new evidence of the Chinese government’s mass arbitrary detention, torture, and mistreatment of Turkic Muslims in Xinjiang and details the systemic and increasingly pervasive controls on daily life there.” This evidence is based primarily on the aforementioned 58 interviews with previous Xinjiang residents.
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According to the information collected from the interviews, it isn’t uncommon to find Uyghurs, especially those from Hotan and Kashgar in southern Xinjiang (which authorities reportedly perceive as anti-government hotspots) with half or more of their immediate family members in political education camps, pre-trial detention and prison.
Last month, the United Nations human rights panel said that China is believed to be holding as many as one million ethnic Uyghurs in secrete “internment camps” in Xinjiang. The people in these camps are said to undergo political education.
However, Beijing has denied that these camps are for political educational purposes and insists that they are vocational training centers that are part of the government’s plans to boost economic growth and the region’s social mobility.
According to the Chinese government, Xinjiang is under serious threat from Islamist militants and separatists plotting to attack and stir up tension between Uyghurs who live in the region and the ethnic Han Chinese majority.
That being said, former camp detainees interviewed by HRW say that Uyghurs and other Muslims held in these camps are prohibited from using Islamic greetings and must learn Mandarin Chinese, as well as sing propaganda songs.
In addition to these camps and the QR code security, according to the HRW, other repressive measures that have been reported include the government’s use of high-tech mass surveillance systems. Authorities in Xinjiang use artificial intelligence and big data to profile, identify and track everyone in Xinjiang, including conducting compulsory mass collection of biometric data, such as DNA and voice samples.