China’s infamous “Great Firewall” has had success managing dissent within its borders, but its influence is limited and reactive. Recent times have seen the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) becoming more proactive through the manufacture and exploitation of cellphones used to populate cultural internment camps at home. Of further concern is this tech also possesses “capacity to conduct undetected espionage” abroad.
At home, the CCP has further extended monitoring in “a surveillance state unlike any the world has ever seen.”
According to a Radio Free Asia report, authorities began requiring Xinjiang residents to install an app known as Jingwang Weishi (淨網衛士), or “to clean the Internet,” on their mobile devices last year.
“Police continue to physically check Uighurs’ phones on the streets to ensure they have installed the app,” the report added.
With Jingwang, old-school Big Brother assimilates Minority Report precognitive-style investigation to identify deviance from the CCP’s Han “norm” to warrant re-education camp internment for Muslims. There, the state addresses the individuals determined pre-crime with “education” and human rights violations to avert “pending” future crimes.
Denying mistreating Muslims in Xinjiang, Li Xiaojun (李曉軍), publicity director at the Bureau of Human Rights Affairs of the State Council Information Office, offered an official rationale for the internment camps (“China mounts PR campaign to fend off Xinjiang critics,” Oct. 3, page 1).
“Look at Belgium, look at Paris, look at some other European countries,” Li said, referring to terror attacks in these places blamed on Islamic extremists. “You have failed.”
China’s denials of mistreatment are exposed by The Uyghur Human Rights Project report: “The Mass Internment of Uyghurs,” subtitled “We want to be respected as humans. Is it too much to ask?”
The report details the inhumane characteristics of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s (習近平) “Socialism with Chinese Characteristics” doctrine.
“More than 1 million Uighurs have been interned out of a population of 11 million” and “people who throw away their mobile phone’s SIM card or did not use their mobile phone after registering it were being targeted for internment.”
A Washington Post editorial laid it out.
“All who believe in the principle of ‘never again’ after the horror of the Nazi extermination camps and Stalin’s gulag must speak up against China’s grotesque use of brainwashing, prisons and torture,” it said.
To become the cultural majority of modern day China, the Han have expanded their regional dominance over centuries, assimilating or subjugating Manchurians, Mongols, Cantonese and Tibetans.
With Mao Zedong’s (毛澤東) Cultural Revolution and the Tiananmen Square Massacre, the CCP embraced its tradition and now forges ahead in Xinjiang with ethnic cleansing of Muslim Uighurs.
The tech used to disseminate the Jingwang app can also reach abroad as CNBC reported.
“The directors of the CIA, FBI, NSA [National Security Agency] and several other [US] intelligence agencies [six in total] express their distrust of Huawei and fellow Chinese telecoms company ZTE, and caution against buying Huawei phones,” the report said.
As summarized in the Financial Times, the present concern gains context: “It is part of a higher-level vision by Xi Jinping to build China into a cyber superpower.”
Cellphones are marketed as benign two-way communication devices, but Huawei and ZTE are mandated to serve Beijing as servers for population control at home and capable of corporate theft anywhere.
With invasive CCP resources pervading abroad Australia retaliated when “the government passed two bills aimed at curbing foreign [CCP] political influence.”
“Chinese tech giant Huawei will be excluded from participating in Australia’s 5G mobile network, concerned that allowing Huawei to help build the network would create national security risks,” an Australian Broadcasting Corp report said.
It is expected that the CCP will continue to incrementally expand influence and territory and, as the Mandarin aphorism goes: “Acquire an inch to advance a foot.”
From grand macro-construction to turn South China Sea atolls into military outposts to publicly debase and derecognize Taiwan’s nationhood with micro-coercion of all international airlines, Chinese expansionism is pervasive and charted.
Without contrary motivation, history tells the CCP will continue denying the freedom, debate and diversity at home perceived necessary to nourish a healthy society and citizenry.
This leaves the free world wise to prepare for the imbalance of a further malnourished China wielding superior weight abroad as its economic might grows.
While China’s regional neighbors — Taiwan and Australia — actively resist CCP expansion, distance has so far insulated North Americans and Europeans from the dragon’s singe.
However, in the interconnected world of today, distance cannot be morally accepted as an excuse to insulate us from the Uighurs’ cry and from their human rights.
In light of the cultural genocide and brutality inflicted on the Uighurs, Beijing must be confronted.
Adopted with eyes on Russian President Vladimir Putin, the US and Canada’s Magnitsky acts should consider sanctions to hold Xi and his CCP comrades accountable.
As humanity becomes ever more connected, the time has come for the free world to evaluate the dragon’s incessant hegemonic path and act accordingly.
Wayne Pajunen is a consultant, political writer and former political aide at Canada’s House of Commons.
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