Inside the Chinese Government’s Growing Surveillance State

Artificial intelligence is making China’s expansive surveillance technologies more efficient.

Security cameras are seen (C) on a street in Urumqi, capital of China's Xinjiang region on July 2, 2010 ahead of the first anniversary of bloody violence that erupted between the region's Muslim ethnic Uighurs and members of China's majority Han ethnicity. Police have installed 40,000 security cameras in more than 3,000 public buses, 200 bus stations, along more than 4,000 roads, 270 schools and more than 100 large supermarkets or malls, the Xinjiang Economic Daily said.  AFP PHOTO/Peter PARKS (Photo credit should read PETER PARKS/AFP via Getty Images)
Photo illustration: Elise Swain/The Intercept; Photo: AFP via Getty Images

The Chinese government forcibly collects biometric markers like fingerprints, facial images, and DNA of Xinjiang residents, where 12 million Uyghurs live. In recent years, the country has expanded and improved its surveillance capabilities. This week on Intercepted: investigative reporter Mara Hvistendahl speaks with Josh Chin and Liza Lin, reporters for the Wall Street Journal, about their new book, “Surveillance State: Inside China’s Quest to Launch a New Era of Social Control.” In their book, Chin and Lin break down the international implications of the Chinese government’s adoption of surveillance technology. Hvistendahl, Chin, and Lin discuss techno-dystopia in the pandemic era, what happens when there are no checks on algorithms, and how Western companies helped the Chinese government build the surveillance state from day one.

Transcript coming soon.

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