China uses invasive mobile app to track Uyghurs, says human rights group

Human Rights Watch investigates China’s most intrusive mobile app

Screenshot from Human Rights Watch video "China's Mass Surveillance Phone App"

Screenshot from Human Rights Watch video "China's Mass Surveillance Phone App"

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The Integrated Joint Operations Platform (一體化聯合作戰平台), or IJOP, is a system Chinese authorities have deployed to monitor every move of the thirteen-million Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslim population in Xinjiang, reported Human Rights Watch (人權觀察) on Wednesday (May 1).

The system has documented meticulous information of people living in the region and gives the police total access to people’s location data, use of electricity and gas, blood type, and much other private information that is far beyond typical police operations.

According to the report, many regular religious activities or small behavioral changes detected by the program are being considered suspect and can often prompt a police investigation. For instance, if the program found an individual changing phone number or using more electricity than usual, it will send an alert to law enforcement, and the government official is required to go and investigate the person.

IJOP is only a small part of the surveillance effort that the Chinese government has brought upon Uyghurs and the Turkic minorities. It is reported that up to one million people are currently held in internment camps, which the government calls “reeducation camps.”

Human Rights Watch called on the Chinese government to immediately suspend the mass surveillance practices and urged concerned foreign governments to impose sanctions on the Chinese officials involved in the “Strike Hard Campaign against Violent Terrorism” (嚴厲打擊暴力恐怖活動專項行動).

The full report "China’s Algorithms of Repression" can be found on Human Rights Watch website.