Revelations of surveillance regimes in China detail wide range of repressive projects
An investigation of a database used by the Ürümqi City Public Security Bureau and the Xinjiang Public Security Bureau reveals elements of the internment regime, the use of informants, and the monitoring of phone, financial, medical, and online records of Uyghur residents.
The investigation follows recent revelations of the development of facial recognition technologies designed to identify ethnicity and flag individuals for authorities.
Officials routinely detain Uyghur individuals as “preventative” security measures, often using trumped up accusations of religious extremism that effectively criminalize religious activities and other cultural practices.
Global Protests: #BlackLivesMatter / Anti–Police Violence
Nearly four years ago, Outlas published a catalog of media coverage focused on global protests connected to the burgeoning #BlackLivesMatter movement. Today, the murder of Black American George Floyd by the police has re-galvanized demonstrations across the world’s continents, promoting diverse forms of solidarity across movements focused on affirming Black lives, eliminating racism, and ending police violence.
Floyd’s death is one among many that have pushed people into the streets of cities from Honolulu to East Jerusalem, drawing together accounts of the criminalization of people of color and other minority groups around the world. Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, protesters around the world have gathered to interconnect their causes, demonstrating the resilience of a global anti-racism and anti–police brutality movement despite the lull in media coverage in recent years. This collection has gathered more than 150 articles, statements, and multimedia stories documenting the recent surge in protests and their interconnection.
A number of media outlets have mapped the development of demonstrations around the world and compiled media and accounts from protests, summarizing the connections between the diverse sites and expressions of solidarity journalists have uncovered.
The U.S. has experienced more than a week of protests in the wake of George Floyd’s murder. His death was the latest in a series of events that had drawn attention to ongoing violence and threats of violence faced by Black people in public space across the U.S., from racist vigilantism in Georgia to a dead-of-night police break-in and murder in New York. Protesters across all 50 states mobilized to contest police violence, prompting spectacular forms of police repression—including tear-gassing, beatings, tasing, and shootings—captured on video and circulated across social media platforms.
Canada has experienced its own widespread condemnation of police violence in the U.S., organizing massive demonstrations from Vancouver to Halifax in honor of the memory of George Floyd. Participants have also drawn attention to recent fatal incidents involving police—including the recent death of Afro-Indigenous woman Regis Korchinski-Paquet—and the disproportionate effects of police violence experienced by Black and Indigenous Canadians and other Canadians of color.
Afro-Latinx, Afro-Caribbean, and allied Latin American communities have also expressed solidarity with Black Americans, highlighting both the ongoing forms of marginalization experienced by Afro-descendant people in Central American countries and the complex relationships to racism across the Caribbean. Brazil, in particular, has been grappling with an entrenched police brutality problem that overwhelmingly threatens Afro-Brazilians—particularly those living in poor communities. The recent killing of 14-year-old João Pedro has reignited protests, with demonstrators drawing explicit connections to anti-Black police violence in the U.S.
Massive protests across Europe have centered not only the injustice of George Floyd’s death, but also ongoing forms of racism across the continent. In France, George’s death scratched at the wound of the 2016 murder of Adama Traoré in a suburb of Paris. In the UK, protest participants were quick to shut down any attempt to distance the UK from U.S.-style racism, highlighting ongoing discrimination experienced by Black communities in the country. Whether in the commemoration of colonial leaders responsible for the death of millions of Africans or stubborn denials of institutional racism, contemporary manifestations of racism drew the ire of demonstrators of all backgrounds.
Solidarity with protesters in the U.S. found diverse expression across Africa and the Middle East, from a mural in the rubble of an obliterated Syrian building to an open letter signed by dozens of African writers demanding accountability and pressuring African governments to do more. African political leaders, for their part, took the rare step of condemning the situation in the U.S.. But activists across the region also worked to draw attention to local police brutality problems as well, including the killing of autistic Palestinian Iyad Halak by Israeli border security and high levels of violence against women (both by police and by others not held to account by police) in Nigeria.
In the Asia-Pacific region, a range of responses to unrest in the U.S. has emerged. In a tit-for-tat with the U.S. government, Chinese officials have used the situation to draw attention to human rights violations in the U.S. as the U.S. has condemned China for its crackdown on protesters in Hong Kong. Elsewhere, police brutality has been a longstanding issue with respect to the treatment of indigenous communities. Thousands of protesters across Australia and New Zealand expressed solidarity with the #BlackLivesMatter movement while also integrating the long history of anti-Indigenous violence into their calls for change. Similarly, the outbreak of protests in U.S. and the resurgence of global anti-racism consciousness provided an opportunity for activists and members of the Papuan diaspora to highlight the ongoing discrimination and violence experienced by indigenous Papuans at the hands of the Indonesian government.
People of African descent in Guangzhou face heightened discrimination amid COVID crisis
Afro-descendant residents of Guangzhou, home to one of the largest Black populations in China, have reportedly been evicted and rendered homeless, had businesses targeted, been profiled by police, and subject to other discriminatory responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As the country has reported an overall decline in COVID-19 transmission, anti-Black discrimination has been tied to increased fears about the reintroduction of the virus from foreigners driven by misinformation.
The situation has ignited a diplomatic firestorm, with African political leaders expressing outrage on social media and the U.S. Consulate General cautioning Black Americans against travel to Guangzhou.
Recent investigations have uncovered more than 100 burial grounds that have been destroyed by the Chinese government.
The Chinese government claimed that the graves had been “relocated” due to urban development demands, but other official justifications included “standardization” and the government’s desire to “promote cultural and ideological progress.”
Cemeteries occupy a significant role in Uyghur cultural life, serving as both resting places and social spaces, and their demolition coupled with the destruction of Uyghur coffins, shrines, and mosques has further substantiated ongoing cultural genocide in Xinjiang.
Growing paranoia over terrorism by and radicalization of China’s Muslim Uyghur minority has led to the dramatic expansion of state surveillance activities in Xinjiang—where Uyghurs account for nearly half of the population—and abroad. Digital surveillance, travel restrictions, indefinite detention, “reeducation” camps, and the exploitation of intra-community and transnational relationships have dramatically expanded the crackdown on ethnic minorities perceived as threats to the integrity of the state. After fleeing China, Uyghur emigrants find themselves and their families (some of whom remain in China) subject to harassment by Chinese security forces in places as far flung as Istanbul and Washington, D.C. BuzzFeed News and The Globe and Mail have profiled a number of Uyghur Chinese in exile and the oppressive conditions they and their families face, including high levels of distrust and fear of advocacy.
Hong Kong court green-lights spousal visas for same-sex couples
Hong Kong’s highest court ruled in favor of a two British-national partners, which is expected to open residential visas to spouses regardless of gender in the partnership.
Without spousal visas, the same-sex partners of Hong Kong residents could only reside in the city on short-term tourist visas that prohibited work or access to public services.
While a recent poll showed more than 50% of Hongkongers support same-sex marriage, native Hong Kong residents still do not have access to same-sex marriage rights, though advocates and some legal experts have suggested the ruling could serve to expand their access to housing and family rights.
Changing economic and cultural conditions in socially conservative China have given birth to a burgeoning body art movement, and Chinese women are battling mores to ink up. Shanghai in particular has become the center of tattoo production in the country, with some estimates putting the number of tattoo artists in China’s largest city as high as 2,000. While several ethnic groups (including the Dulong, Dai, and Li) have had historical tattooing traditions, contemporary Chinese body art has emerged from the relaxation of legal and cultural prohibitions on tattooing in China and the resurgence of tattooing in global popular culture. For women in particular, body art has come to mark an assertion of both identity and bodily autonomy. Recent media coverage has chronicled the dismantling of the tattoo taboo and the uptake of body art among Chinese women.
Carrie Lam was elected chief executive of Hong Kong by an electoral committee in the semi-autonomous Chinese city, inheriting growing divisions between a youth-led pro-democracy movement and increasing Beijing influence.
The election was mired in controversy as the committee is stacked with pro-China business and political figures, seen by critics as promoting more Communist Party control over Hong Kong affairs.
Lam led the failed effort to reform Hong Kong’s electoral process, in which Beijing sought to pre-screen candidates before presenting options for direct popular vote.
Chinese feminist group’s social media accounts suspended
The Weibo account for prominent feminist group Feminist Voices was recently suspended, with the group’s social media editor suspecting posts about anti-Trump demonstrations in the U.S. having spurred the gag.
Weibo administrators indicated the group will be unable to post through the account for 30 days for “violating national laws.”
Beyond the suspension, activists reported broadening crackdowns on feminist activity, including social media attacks by commentators paid by the government to support the Chinese Communist Party on social media.
One of the most important days in the Christian holiday canon, Christmas is celebrated by the devout, the lapsed, and the unbelieving alike as a time of gift-giving, decorating, and shared cheer. However, many of the worlds Christians, minorities in their communities, continue to face persecution as religious-extremist, nationalist, and other reactionary forces gain footholds around the world. From Indonesia to Egypt, religiously diverse societies have experienced increased sectarian tensions as parallel forces—anti-Christian sentiment and Islamophobia—have disrupted what was once stable co-existence. This roundup takes a look at recent developments in the plight faced by some of the most vulnerable Christians around the world. Continue reading Global Event | Christmas→
Popular website for Chinese Muslims goes down following posting of Xi-critical letter
China Muslim Net, a site focused on content related to Hui Muslims in the country, became inaccessible after the site published a letter critical of President Xi Jinping, though the official cause of the issue has not been revealed.
The letter reportedly denounced Xi for the jailing of advocates and intellectuals and called for the release of Kwong Pyong, a student who disappeared after posting pictures of himself online wearing a satirical t-shirt comparing Xi to Hitler.
The Chinese government has cracked down on religious expression and expressed fears of extremism in the country as it has engaged in protracted conflict with Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang.
Clashes erupt as newly elected pro-democracy officials in Hong Kong ousted by Beijing
As many as 10 newly elected members to Hong Kong’s Legislative Council may lose their seats as the Chinese government has declared that improperly declared oaths of office disqualify them from office.
The Chinese parliament passed a resolution removing two newly elected Hong Kong officials for inserting a slur against China and a pledge to the “Hong Kong nation” in their oaths.
Thousands of protesters (including a large contingent of lawyers) took to the street, in demonstration against the government’s stance, clashing with police and denouncing increased intervention from Beijing into semi-autonomous Hong Kong’s affairs.
Uyghur activist wins prestigious human rights award
Chinese scholar Ilham Tohti, famed as a moderate bridge between Uyghur and Han Chinese cultures, was awarded the Martin Ennals Award, a human rights prize awarded by a jury including representatives from organizations such as Amnesty International.
Tohti is a prominent advocate for Uyghur rights and visibility, including drawing attention to the oppression of Uyghurs by the Chinese government in Xinjiang.
The Chinese government sentenced Tohti to life in prison in 2014, accusing him of ties to terrorism and promoting dissidence in the country.
China’s increased economic ties with sub-Saharan Africa countries have opened up new immigration channels, with a flurry of “Chinatowns” and “Little Africas” popping up in destination countries. But as urban “beautification” campaigns expand in China’s cities, African immigrants have found their economic and social spaces under threat. Guangzhou, home to what is estimated to be China’s largest population of black African immigrants, has seen its vibrant African market dampened as urban development, an economic downturn, increased policing, tightening immigration policies, and social stigma have driven many enterprising immigrants out of public areas. CNN takes a look at the shifting prospects for African immigrants in China.