The Chinese government is currently engaged in an ongoing act of cultural genocide against the Uighur Muslims, a minority population within North Western China.
As part of this cultural genocide, 15000 mosques have already been bulldozed and thousands of Uighur Muslims have been rounded up and forced into ‘re-education’ camps (which the Chinese government calls ‘job training’ centers.
In these camps they are forced to renounce their faith and their traditions, and to speak Mandarin Chinese.
The Chinese state has used surveillance technology including facial recognition, mandatory fingerprinting, Iris scans, and routine checks on phones, combined with AI based predictive software to flag up suspects who ‘refuse alcohol’ or who ‘discuss the Koran’.
The camps were constructed following a series of terror attacks in the region, leaked government documents have President Xi dictating his officials to show ‘no mercy’ in the battled against extremists, and that anyone ‘infected’ by extremism requires a painful ‘interventionary treatment’ where their ‘erroneous thinking’ can be eradicated.
Relevance of this to A-level sociology
Firstly, it’s a horrific example of a contemporary state crime – this is a flagrant abuse of the human rights (as ‘protected’ by the United Nations) by the Chinese State.
Secondly, it’s a good example of both the power of the Nation State (China) to abuse people, and the powerlessness other Nation States to do anything about it – pretty much every country on Earth is ignoring this, including Muslim majority countries.
Thirdly, it’s an interesting (and again horrific) example of how surveillance can be used to control people.
Source: The Week, 30 September 2019.
Find out More
This Al Jazeera news article is a useful starting point.