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Uyghur Man

"Uyghur man" by Evgeni Zotov is
licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The Chinese Communist Party’s persecution of the Uyghur people will go down in history as one of the worst human rights tragedies of our time — not just for the abject horror of targeting a population of 11 million for genocide, but also for the advanced technologies that enabled it.

Like most Chinese citizens, the Uyghurs have long been under constant high-tech surveillance that tracks, analyzes and records their every move and scours their personal communications for evidence of dissent. Compounding this culture of surveillance is the evolution of artificial intelligence from a novelty designed to win games of chess against humans into a science now capable of facial recognition and individual profiling. The Uyghurs have lived in China since the 9th century, yet their persecution has been driven by 21st-century technology.

Beijing has vowed to lead the world in AI, and its documented use in the identification and detention of Uyghurs shows that the regime is getting there quickly. The implications of this campaign are dire. A new...

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