China's Hikvision provides "fasting alert" technology to monitor Muslim students

China's Hikvision provides "fasting alert" technology to monitor Muslim students

A police database in Urumqi, China has revealed how it controls the daily lives of Uyghurs

In a new report released on November 13 by the "IPVM" research center in the state of Pennsylvania, the Chinese technology company Hikvision revealed that it has signed a $9 million contract with the Chinese authorities to build a "smart campus". China's surveillance project includes comprehensive capabilities such as smart camera recordings in schools and the collection of student ID information and alerts to alert school administrators of "minority" students suspected of fasting.

The surveillance cameras specifically track the daily activities of minority students, including information about their expenses, meal purchases, book loans, vacation destinations, ID and bank card usage records, and family members.

Information in the procurement document released by the Fujian Provincial Government indicates that the students in question may be Muslim. The term "Jiyu" refers to the month of Ramadan, when Uighur and other Muslim students are traditionally supposed to fast, but the Chinese government has strictly prohibited the practice for years.

According to the report, the July 2022 procurement project results report announced that Hikvision had won the project. In December 2022, I announced that the first phase of the "Smart Campus" project for Mingjiang University, which has 16,000 students in Fujian City, has been successfully built.

Hikvision continues to play a role in the suppression of Chinese Uighurs and other Muslims

"IPVM" research center revealed the 85-page contract that was seized three months ago, which shows that in December 2022, Hikvision signed a contract with Hikvision in Hainan province to purchase technology for "identifying the faces of ethnic minorities". proposed by the committee.

The Chinese state-owned Hikvision company has been heavily criticized by the Chinese government for its high-tech surveillance of Uyghurs, as well as its active role in the genocide against Uyghurs, especially its facial recognition technology targeting Uyghurs, and has been blacklisted by the United States.

Due to various pressures, they have announced that they have stopped this type of technical configuration, but this new information revealed by IPVM research center shows that the company continues to support the Chinese government and provide technical support for repression against Uyghur Muslims.

How can the "Ramzan Alert" system detect whether Uyghur students are fasting?

In an interview with Charles Rolletni, the researcher who prepared the report, he said:

“I'd say it's a coincidence. I found this while browsing Chinese government websites. Because they didn't even cover it up, it's a concern that it's not a classified document."

He also briefly explained how the system detects fasting students:

"This system is specifically aimed at minority students, and it includes not just camera technology, but software and other systems. Identity cards are used everywhere in China, so it is easy to track someone's ethnicity, especially Uyghurs studying in mainland China, who have a clear ethnic classification recorded on their identity cards. College admissions, population registration, etc. are disclosed through ID cards. For example, during Ramadan, when minority students ate, where they got tickets, this information can be tracked. "When it comes to how to tell if they're not fasting, for example, a minority student who doesn't buy dinner from the school cafeteria during the week or eats at the same time every day becomes an easy target for suspicious alerts."

A nightmare, a dangerous threat

The persecution of minority or Muslim students at Minjiang Institute is part of a larger surveillance system against ethnic minorities in China, raising human rights concerns.

Mr. Nuri Turkel, Commissioner of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, told "IPVM" that the use of surveillance technology to detect those who are fasting is an alarming situation.

"Surveillance data collected by Hikvision may be used by government authorities to further target Muslim students' freedom of religion and belief."

Louisa Grew, campaign director for the Uyghur Human Rights Foundation, called the Smart Campus project a "nightmare" and said, "It's truly outrageous that any technology company would help a government use mass surveillance as a tool of genocide."

Punitive measures have loopholes

After the report was released, Thomas Tugendhat, a member of the British Conservative Party, shared the report on his X page with a critical response saying, "No one should be targeted because of the color of their skin."

On November 14th, the World Uyghur Congress issued a statement condemning the practice of using Hikvision's "smart campus" surveillance system to help the Chinese government crack down on the Muslim community and facilitate the Uyghur massacre.

Ms. Maya Wang, Deputy Director of Human Rights Watch's Asia Division, responded to this report on our radio.

"The Chinese government's use of high-tech surveillance systems for students is not new. A few years ago, there were cases in Chinese classrooms where students were monitored and evaluated by cameras. In China, students continue to be the experimental object of a different kind of technical surveillance under China's so-called social stability guarantee. In particular, Uyghur students studying in the mainland are being targeted. Although the United States has announced trade restrictions on Chinese companies that are seriously undermining human rights, including Hikvision, they unfortunately continue to do so. "This shows us that there is still room in the restrictions we have against these companies."

This is a sign of China's wider crackdown on Muslims

The report highlighted that in 2014, the Chinese government banned Uighur government employees from fasting, and some Uighurs were sent to "re-education camps" to fast during Ramadan. The Chinese government's crackdown on Islam continues.

Maju, a Tongan observer in the United States, said:

"In fact, this clearly shows that commercial companies like Hikvision are directly and continuously involved in genocidal policies against Chinese Uighurs. In the past, the Chinese government would monitor Uyghurs and Muslims for their Ramadan prayers by assigning observers to mosques or student dormitories. Later, he did not trust anyone and put all people, especially Muslims, under strict surveillance using advanced technology. "I have no doubt that in the near future, China will be able to expand this kind of surveillance system to monitor all Chinese citizens and even people all over the world."

Based on new evidence and findings that Hikvision has not stopped developing software technologies capable of monitoring Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities, and is continuing to develop them in line with the demands of the Chinese government, the IPVM Research Center concluded that "the genocide against the Uyghurs is still ongoing." released.

About 10,000 war refugees from Di Pa Yin and Ye Oo townships have not been able to return home and are in need of food.

Dipayin Township Brothers Group
Sagaing Division Residents and aid workers said that around 10,000 war refugees who fled their homes due to the deployment of military council troops in the villages of Di Pa Yin and Ye Oo townships are unable to return home and are facing food shortages.

Happy from Di Paying Township, Prosperity Long village and Mocsi from Ye Oo Township. don't worry It has been almost ten days since nearly ten thousand local residents of ten villages bordering Di Pa Yin and Ye U Township, including villages such as Mae Oh, have fled their homes.

Residents said that the military council troops have been stationed in Mocsi village of Ye Oo Township until November 18, and are firing heavy weapons at villages in the west of Ye Oo Township.

Ko Phyo, who is in charge of the Dipaying Township Sisters' Association that is helping the war-torn refugees, told RFA that as the war-torn refugees have been fleeing for a long time, there is a need for food, and some war-torn refugee camps are already short of food.

"They are fleeing the war in villages far away from where the column is stationed. Some refugee camps have run out of food. It's been more than a week, and the villages where the war refugees have been accepted have become difficult. That's why we need help."

Residents said that there was a fight between the People's Defense Joint Force and the Military Council last day between Di Paying and Ye U Township.

RFA reached out to U Sai Naing Naing Kyaw, Minister of Ethnic Affairs, who is the spokesman for the Sagaing Division of the Military Council, to find out more about the aid to the war victims, but there was no response.

2023 of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA). According to a statement on October 2, there are already more than eight hundred thousand (813,500) people who have fled their homes in Sagaing after the coup.

Nearly 100 civilians have been arrested and more than 200 are trapped in Phongtaw city

Rakhine state Residents of Pauktaw said that after a fierce battle between the Rakhine Army (AA) and the Military Council in Pauktaw on November 16th and 17th, the Military Council troops arrested nearly a hundred local residents who did not have time to escape.

After the military council forces regained control of the town of Paktaw on November 17th, they have been arresting civilians continuously, and it is said that there are more than two hundred people trapped in the town.

Some of the social aid groups based in the region, during the two-day battle in the town of Paoktaw, a preschool teacher, At least 15 civilians, including a secondary school teacher and a priest, were said to have been killed, but RFA could not independently confirm this.

"Military Council forces arrested the residents of Phong Taw as human shields"

A resident of Paoktaw, who did not want to be named for security reasons, said in Paoktaw, He told RFA that military council troops were stationed on Loka Top Pan Pagoda hill and nearly a hundred civilians were arrested.

"They (Military Council) are stationed in Loka Toppan Square. More than a hundred innocent civilians were arrested there, and gunshots were often heard from there. The city is back under control. They (military council troops) are going around the city. When they reached the crossroads, they (military council troops) shot as they wanted. I shot the houses. It's like that"

The social aid groups in Paktaw said that since November 16th, social assistance activities have been suspended because the military council army prevented and limited the medical treatment of local residents who were hit by heavy weapons bullets during the battle.

Currently, there are more than two hundred people trapped in the city, including hospital patients and department staff, a resident of Paoktaw, who did not want to be named for security reasons, told RFA.

"In the hospital, there are things that are very trapped. The patients from the hospital have been moved back to the city. But those patients are in the city, so I think there are more than two hundred in total. In the meantime, there are still people who are missing. There are also other entrepreneurs. Then there are the departmental staff."

The army of the military council had a large weapon. He said that because of the small arms fire, the trapped people did not dare to go out and had to hide.

Nearly 20,000 local residents who have fled to other villages near the city are having trouble with medicine and food, and due to the current heavy rains, the health of children and the elderly is worried, according to the residents of Paoktaw.

A political activist from Rakhine State told RFA that the Military Council Army had detained the residents of Pauktaw as human shields.

"Now, those who are trapped in Phongtaw City are being held hostage as if they were human shields. What I mean is that if there is (fighting) in something else, there is a threat that people will suffer here. In fact, the people involved in this region are groups called the ICRC. UN organizations are responsible for evacuating civilians. The next thing is that the armed groups must also work hard to evacuate the people."

He said that he has become worried about the lives of the civilians who have been arrested.

As for Rakhine Army (AA), they took over the police station in Paktaw city on November 16th, but that same evening, the military council army said, It was reported on November 16 that civilians were killed as well as retaliated by air strikes.

AA has accused the military council of killing civilians, but RFA cannot independently confirm this.

Maj. Gen. Zaw Min Tun, the military council spokesman, told the local media on the morning of November 17 that they have regained control of Phong Taw.

"After the departure of the police station in Phaktaw, the situation in Phaktaw has been settled by the Tatmadaw and the Myanmar police. I would like to say that the situation in the city is under control."

There was no mention of the arrests and deaths of civilians, and RFA reached out to Rakhine State Attorney General U Hla Thein, who is the spokesman for the military council, by telephone today, but he did not receive a response.

2023 of the Association for the Assistance of Political Prisoners (AAPP). According to a statement on November 17, 19693 civilians have been arrested since the military coup.
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