- Living through Xinjiang's genocide: So much for "never again."
- This day in history: 2006, 2011, 2016
- Colophon: Recent publications, upcoming/recent appearances, current writing projects, current reading
Living through Xinjiang's genocide (permalink)
It's disturbingly easy to forget that China is operating a genocidal program of ethnic cleansing against Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims in Xinjiang province. The secrecy of the concentration camps and the chaos of the world makes it all rather abstract.
But periodically, a leak or a first-hand account will bring the issue back to the fore, and each time that happens, it's a chance to galvanize action. We've missed a lot of these chances.
In 2017, the Chinese state announced that it would collect the DNA of every person in the province.
Later that year, we learned that cops were using ubiquitous stop-and-frisks to force Uyghurs to install surveillance apps on their phones:
In 2018, a redditor visiting Xinjiang was forced to install the surveillance app at the border:
It wasn't a one-off – soon, every tourist was having the app installed during border inspections:
When Human Rights Watch reverse-engineered the app, they revealed just how far-reaching and sinister it was – a system for algorithmic surveillance, suspicion and accusation:
But as chilling as these dry technological accounts were, they were still technical, not personal. It was only when they were augmented by leaks about the plans for ethnic cleansing and survivor accounts from the camps that the true horror set in.
The pic of hundreds of prisoners kneeling in ranks on a train platform, shaven heads bowed:
And then the leaked Chinese intelligence memos detailing the plan to open 500 concentration camps disguised as "training centers."
The camp survivor who told of punitive rape, forced labor, torture and medical experimentation:
And the hundreds of pages of leaked state docs revealing that the cruelty was part of the plan, the "no mercy" plan inspired by America's decades-long domestic "war on terror."
Gradually, the connection between the camps, the apps, and everyday life came into focus. The camps were everting, thanks to the apps, turning Xinjiang's cities into "smart cities" that operated as satellites of the camps:
And every month, fresh reminders that Xinjiang is part of the "supply chain": that our electronics, covid supplies, and gewgaws are being made by terrorized slaves as part of a wider plan to erase a people:
We've squandered so many opportunities to treat the situation in Xinjiang with the alarm it deserves, and yet they keep coming, bought with the blood of Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims.
Today, the Intercepted podcast reports on another set of leaks, these describing the terror of everyday life outside of the camps – cities overshadowed by surveillance and the looming threat of being taken away.
Parents separated from their children, families forced to install cameras inside their homes, forced sterilizations and abortions, desecration of cemeteries, torture and sexual violence.
It's haunting, deeply disturbing reportage, but we can't afford to look away.
This day in history (permalink)
#15yrsago British Library: DRM lobotomizes “human memory” http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/4675280.stm
#15yrsago Sony CD spyware vendor caves to EFF demands https://web.archive.org/web/20060208033113/https://www.eff.org/news/archives/2006_02.php
#10yrsago Infringing anime downloads increase DVD sales https://torrentfreak.com/internet-piracy-boosts-anime-sales-study-concludes-110203/
#10yrsago Michael Lewis explains the Irish econopocalypse https://web.archive.org/web/20110205210114/https://www.vanityfair.com/business/features/2011/03/michael-lewis-ireland-201103
#10yrsago Hex values for Crayola colors https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Crayola_crayon_colors
#5yrsago EU plans to class volunteers who rescue drowning Syrian refugees as “traffickers” https://www.statewatch.org/news/2016/january/refugee-crisis-council-proposals-on-migrant-smuggling-would-criminalise-humanitarian-assistance-by-civil-society-local-people-and-volunteers-greece-ngos-and-volunteers-have-to-register-with-the-police-and-be-vetted/
#5yrsago Tattoo artist asserts copyright over customers’ bodies https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/nba-2k-videogame-maker-sued-861131
Today's top sources:
- My next novel, "The Lost Cause," a post-GND novel about truth and reconciliation. Yesterday's progress: 507 words (106233 total).
A short story, "Jeffty is Five," for The Last Dangerous Visions. Yesterday's progress: 260 words (2918 total).
Currently reading: Analogia by George Dyson.
Latest podcast: Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town (part 30) https://craphound.com/articles/2021/01/31/someone-comes-to-town-someone-leaves-town-part-30/
- Launch for the young adult edition of Edward Snowden's memoir PERMANENT RECORD, Feb 9, https://www.eventbrite.com/e/edward-snowden-in-conversation-with-cory-doctorow-tickets-136734968973
Boskone, 58, Feb 12-15, https://boskone.org/
Keynote, NISO Plus, Feb 22-25, https://niso.plus/cory-doctorow-to-keynote-at-niso-plus-2021/
- Chop Shop Economics https://soundcloud.com/chopshopeconomics/unlocked-special-episode-9-cory-doctorow/s-VzUA5S25But
Monocle Reads https://monocle.com/radio/shows/meet-the-writers/monocle-reads-87/play/
Hedging Bets on the Future (Motherboard Cyber):
- "Attack Surface": The third Little Brother novel, a standalone technothriller for adults. The Washington Post called it "a political cyberthriller, vigorous, bold and savvy about the limits of revolution and resistance." Order signed, personalized copies from Dark Delicacies https://www.darkdel.com/store/p1840/Available_Now%3A_Attack_Surface.html
"How to Destroy Surveillance Capitalism": an anti-monopoly pamphlet analyzing the true harms of surveillance capitalism and proposing a solution. https://onezero.medium.com/how-to-destroy-surveillance-capitalism-8135e6744d59 (print edition: https://bookshop.org/books/how-to-destroy-surveillance-capitalism/9781736205907)
"Little Brother/Homeland": A reissue omnibus edition with a new introduction by Edward Snowden: https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250774583; personalized/signed copies here: https://www.darkdel.com/store/p1750/July%3A__Little_Brother_%26_Homeland.html
"Poesy the Monster Slayer" a picture book about monsters, bedtime, gender, and kicking ass. Order here: https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781626723627. Get a personalized, signed copy here: https://www.darkdel.com/store/p1562/_Poesy_the_Monster_Slayer.html.
This work licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license. That means you can use it any way you like, including commercially, provided that you attribute it to me, Cory Doctorow, and include a link to pluralistic.net.
Quotations and images are not included in this license; they are included either under a limitation or exception to copyright, or on the basis of a separate license. Please exercise caution.
How to get Pluralistic:
Blog (no ads, tracking, or data-collection):
Newsletter (no ads, tracking, or data-collection):
Mastodon (no ads, tracking, or data-collection):
Twitter (mass-scale, unrestricted, third-party surveillance and advertising):
Tumblr (mass-scale, unrestricted, third-party surveillance and advertising):
"When life gives you SARS, you make sarsaparilla" -Joey "Accordion Guy" DeVilla