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12 days in Xinjiang: How China's surveillance state overwhelms daily life

The government has turned the remote region into a laboratory for its high-tech social controls

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Xinjiang Province

Josh Chin Clément Bürge | WSJ  |  Urumqi, China 

Urumqi, China - This city on China’s Central Asia frontier may be one of the most closely surveilled places on earth. Security checkpoints with identification scanners guard the train station and roads in and out of town. Facial scanners track comings and goings at hotels, shopping malls and banks.

Police use hand-held devices to search smartphones for encrypted chat apps, politically charged videos and other suspect content. To fill up with gas, drivers must first swipe their ID cards and stare into a camera. China’s efforts to snuff out a violent separatist ...

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First Published: Thu, December 21 2017. 08:43 IST
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