Chinese technology is eerily spying on citizens, examining their use of everyday words to determine whether they should be taken to a detention centre, a documentary has revealed.
Beijing is currently the home of the 2022 Winter Olympics, with athletes from all over the world travelling to the region to compete in the Games.
The communist country has faced allegations of persecution against Uyghur Muslims, with video circulating of ‘re-education’ centres.
And with the international spotlight on the country, a Channel 4 Dispatches documentary ‘China: The Search for the Missing’ has delved into the state’s use of technology as a possible control mechanism over these groups.
The documentary featured testimony from a man who previously worked in the high tech section of China’s security services.
He claimed to have obtained documents that demonstrate the Chinese state’s use of digital technology on those held in mass detention.
The documentary’s narrator informed viewers that the uncovered documents show how surveillance technology that is used to instantly translate local languages to Chinese is being implemented across Xinjiang, a region in China.
“They’re using it in the education sector, re-education and internment camps, that’s what’s new in these documents,” the anonymous source suggested.
One document shown to viewers asked authorities to install technology that can “identify sensitive words”, as well as robots that have “voice-activated photography”.
The man explained how this would capture the everyday words of everyone nearby, including children, before a decision is made on whether the alleged offender should be prosecuted.
“After listening to the recordings, the neighbourhood committee would determine whether it is an ordinary conversation or [if there is] some kind of threat hidden in it.
“For example, a child said in class, ‘my father told me not to eat anything from the Chinese’, and that father was imprisoned due to this.”
This means, the narrator explained that the police are alerted if a person mentions any of the 1800 flagged keywords, which include many innocent activities.
“All these sentences are flagged as keywords; ‘get together’, ‘gather’ are keywords,” the source described.
The documentary then described how this is fed into a much wider database, which analyses citizens’ movements, then relying on an algorithm to determine whether a person should be detained.
“Once the Integrated Joint Operation Platform determines the colours red, yellow and green, people with green colour can pass all the checkpoints without being stopped,” the source claimed.
“The red colour makes the alarm go off. Once red is detected, police make the arrest on the spot.
“If there are people flagged red in a neighbourhood, they are summoned to the police station, and taken directly to the detention centres."
China’s embassy has said that digital technology is used for social governance to prevent crimes without targeting any specific technology.
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