In the Camps: China's High-Tech Penal Colony

In the Camps: China's High-Tech Penal Colony

by Darren Byler
In the Camps: China's High-Tech Penal Colony

In the Camps: China's High-Tech Penal Colony

by Darren Byler


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How China used a network of surveillance to intern over a million people and produce a system of control previously unknown in human history

Novel forms of state violence and colonization have been unfolding for years in China’s vast northwestern region, where more than a million and a half Uyghurs and others have vanished into internment camps and associated factories. Based on hours of interviews with camp survivors and workers, thousands of government documents, and over a decade of research, Darren Byler, one of the leading experts on Uyghur society and Chinese surveillance systems, uncovers how a vast network of technology provided by private companies—facial surveillance, voice recognition, smartphone data—enabled the state and corporations to blacklist millions of Uyghurs because of their religious and cultural practice starting in 2017. Charged with “pre-crimes” that sometimes consist only of installing social media apps, detainees were put in camps to “study”—forced to praise the Chinese government, renounce Islam, disavow families, and labor in factories. Byler travels back to Xinjiang to reveal how the convenience of smartphones have doomed the Uyghurs to catastrophe, and makes the case that the technology is being used all over the world, sold by tech companies from Beijing to Seattle producing new forms of unfreedom for vulnerable people around the world.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781735913629
Publisher: Columbia Global Reports
Publication date: 10/12/2021
Pages: 150
Product dimensions: 4.90(w) x 7.40(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Darren Byler is Assistant Professor of International Studies at Simon Fraser Universityin Vancouver, British Columbia, and the author of the forthcoming book Terror Capitalism: Uyghur Dispossession and Masculinity in a Chinese City. He writes a regular column for SupChina and his work has appeared in The Guardian, Foreign Policy,Noema Magazine, Prospect Magazine, Guernica, ChinaFile, as well as many academic journals. He received his PhD in anthropology at the Universityof Washington.

Table of Contents

Introduction 10

Chapter 1 Pre-crime 26

Chapter 2 Phone Disaster 38

Chapter 3 Two Faced 62

Chapter 4 The Animals 85

Chapter 5 The Unfree 103

Conclusion: Behind Seattle Stands Xinjiang 123

Acknowledgments 136

Further Reading 138

Notes 140

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