Tag Archives: chinese

Beijing Hires Hundreds To Manage Mandatory Party Propaganda App

We didn’t think it was possible, but then again, when it comes to the CPC’s leveraging of technology for the purposes of ideological indoctrination and social control, nothing surprises us anymore.

After Tencent created a mobile app that awarded ‘points’ to government employees who were the fastest to stand and applaud during a speech by President Xi, the Chinese government has released a smartphone app of its own that takes its indoctrination efforts to a whole new level. Th app awards points to state employees for studying lessons on socialist ideology, taking quizzes on “Xi Jinping thought” and watching lectures about aspects of Chinese culture and Communist Party history.

Bureaucrats and managers at state-owned companies are supposed to incorporate these scores in their evaluations of employees, Bloomberg reports, though some have said these rules are sparsely enforced.

To help fill the app with content and assist in the monitoring of its users, state-run CCTV is recruiting 300 people to work in its “new media division”, half of whom will be tasked with managing the app.

Basic requirements include “maintaining a high degree of unity with the ideological and political actions” of the Party and Xi, and “practicing the core values of socialism.”

The app, called “the Study of the Strong and Powerful Country”, climbed to the top of the ‘most downloaded’ list after its January release.

The app is the latest push to spread "Xi Jinping Thought" - the president’s take on socialism that was enshrined in the constitution two years ago in a show of power. It topped Apple Inc.’s domestic download charts shortly after it was released in January, and has become a major topic of conversation among bureaucrats and party officials.

Many government employees are required to use the app regularly. They have been told they can prove their loyalty by racking up points, which are given out to users depending on how often they log on, comment on posts or take quizzes, according to bureaucrats who spoke to Bloomberg on the condition of anonymity.

The app is part of a trend of quantifying Chinese citizens’ loyalty and obedience. Last year, Beijing started rolling out its ‘social credit score’ system across the country. It corresponds with Xi’s unprecedented consolidation of power, which has made him the most powerful Chinese leader since Mao.

So far, enforcement of rules to use the app appear to vary drastically across government departments. One official in Beijing said she had a score of zero, but her supervisors didn’t really care. Several provinces, meanwhile, have established special committees to ensure that employees are using the app regularly.

China’s State Council Information Office didn’t reply to faxed questions seeking comment on requirements to use the app.

National "party building" campaigns have become the norm under Xi, who took control of the party in 2012 and has become China’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong. Xi has put himself at the center of the Chinese political system: He heads dozens of policy committees and this year chaired four politburo meetings that produced sweeping new legislation tightening control of the ruling party.

By using mobile apps, the CPC hopes to leverage Chinese citizens’ “obsession” with the Internet and their mobile devices and use it as a tool of state repression.

But in an amusing twist, some government employees have found ways to ‘cheat’ and earn points for activities and studying they didn’t actually do. One woman said she uses her 5 year old to sit in front of the phone and watch videos. Others employ special software designed to game the app.

After all, what government employee wants to work for free?

Think you have what it takes to prove your fealty to the Communist elite? Take Bloomberg’s quiz on “Xi Jinping thought” below (text courtesy of Bloomberg):

1. To be loyal to the party, we must strengthen our “four consciousness,” be firm in our “Four self-confidence,” and uphold [……….], strictly observe the party’s political discipline and political rules, and always maintain a high degree of consistency with the Party Central Committee in political positions, directions, principles and paths.

2. General Secretary Xi Jinping pointed out that a cadre’s [……….] and style of work can best be seen by his or her ability to take responsibility.

3. The report of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) proposed that the state supervision law be formulated to give the supervisory commission the power of responsibility and means of investigation in accordance with the law, and replace the “shuanggui” measures with [……….].

4. General Secretary Xi Jinping stressed that the mainstream media should provide more real, objective and clear-cut information in a timely manner, and grasp the [……….] and [……….] in the field of public opinion.

5. Among the following crops, [……….] and [……….] were first cultivated by the Chinese. A. Rice B. Wheat C. Corn D. Soybean.

6. What year did Qian Xuesen (Hsue-Shen Tsien), a prominent scientist who led China’s missile and space programs in the 60s, come back to China from the U.S.? A. Oct. 8, 1954 B. Oct. 8, 1955 C. Oct. 8, 1956

7. On Dec. 14, 2016, General Secretary Xi Jinping pointed out in his speech at the Central Economic Work Conference that to solve the real estate problem, we should insist that “houses are [……….] and not for speculation."

8. In recent years, General Secretary Xi Jinping has repeatedly mentioned Wang Shouren, who is also known as [……….], a thinker of the Ming dynasty. He affirmed that Yangming philosophy of the mind is the essence of Chinese traditional culture and one of the entry points to enhance the cultural confidence of the Chinese people.

Answers: 1. "Two upholding." 2. Party character. 3. Detentions. 4. Initiative and dominance. 5. A (Rice) and D (Soybean). 6. B (Oct. 8, 1955). 7. For living. 8. Wang Yangming.
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A.I. Surveillance Gaining Steam In China

China is reportedly making progress in artificial intelligence (AI) surveillance. And according to the New York Times is using the technology to track its Uighur Muslim minority.

The facial recognition technology is now integrated into China’s expanding network of surveillance cameras throughout the country.

The practice makes China a pioneer in applying next-generation technology to watch its people, “potentially ushering in a new era of automated racism,” the NYT claimed.

The NYT cited 5 anonymous sources, who described the technology being specifically targeted against Uighurs. The sources wished to remain anonymous because they “feared retribution.” The NYT also reviewed databases used by the police, government procurement documents and advertising materials distributed by the A.I. companies that make the systems.

Furthermore, alleged police documents show that demand for such AI surveillance capabilities is spreading. Approximately two dozen police departments in 16 different provinces and regions across China sought such technology beginning in 2018, according to procurement documents.

Law enforcement from the central province of Shaanxi, for example, aimed to acquire a smart camera system last year that “should support facial recognition to identify Uighur/non-Uighur attributes,” the NYT said.

The trend of start-ups working on such AI surveillance technology, according to the outlet is to cater to Beijing’s “authoritarian needs.”

Similar tools could automate biases based on skin color and ethnicity elsewhere, according to NYT.

“Take the most risky application of this technology, and chances are good someone is going to try it,” said Clare Garvie, an associate at the Center on Privacy and Technology at Georgetown Law. “If you make a technology that can classify people by an ethnicity, someone will use it to repress that ethnicity.”

One Chinese start-up, CloudWalk, outlined a sample experience in marketing its own surveillance systems. The technology, it said, could recognize “sensitive groups of people.”

“If originally one Uighur lives in a neighborhood, and within 20 days six Uighurs appear,” it said on its website, “it immediately sends alarms” to law enforcement.

The Chinese A.I. companies behind the software include Yitu, Megvii, SenseTime, and CloudWalk, which are each valued at more than $1 billion.

In a statement, a SenseTime spokeswoman said she checked with “relevant teams,” who were not aware its technology was being used to profile. Megvii said in a statement it was focused on “commercial not political solutions,” adding, “we are concerned about the well-being and safety of individual citizens, not about monitoring groups.”

CloudWalk and Yitu did not respond to NYT requests for comment.

To allegedly allow the system to work, police have put together face-image databases for people with criminal records, mental illnesses, records of drug use, and those who petitioned the government over grievances, according to two of the people and procurement documents, cited by NYT.

“A national database of criminals at large includes about 300,000 faces, while a list of people with a history of drug use in the city of Wenzhou totals 8,000 faces.”

Using a process called machine learning, engineers feed data to artificial intelligence systems to train them to recognize patterns or traits.

The A.I. companies have taken money from major investors. Fidelity International and Qualcomm Ventures were a part of a consortium that invested $620 million in SenseTime.

Chinese tech investor Kai-Fu Lee said that China had an advantage in developing AI, since its leaders are less fussed by “legal intricacies” or “moral consensus.”

“We are not passive spectators in the story of A.I. — we are the authors of it,” Lee said. “That means the values underpinning our visions of an A.I. future could well become self-fulfilling prophecies.”

Another technology that Chinese authorities have been applying since October 2018 is gait analysis.

MSM hasn’t yet started widely claiming that China has also come to the conclusion that specific minorities walk in a particular way to track them, but that’s probably also just around the corner.

The new ‘gait recognition’ software that claims to be able to identify people using their silhouettes and how they walk, even if their faces are not visible. A Chinese surveillance company, Watrix, has developed the new system for gait recognition that can identify people as far as 50 metres away, according to CEO Huang Yongzhen.

It can analyse how people carry themselves and, while it is not capable of real-time recognition yet, the company claims it can search an hour’s worth of footage in 10 minutes with an accuracy rate of 94%. The software also can’t be fooled by a person pretending to limp or faking an injury.

“You don’t need people’s cooperation for us to be able to recognize their identity,” Huang said in an interview in his Beijing office. “Gait analysis can’t be fooled by simply limping, walking with splayed feet or hunching over, because we’re analyzing all the features of an entire body.”

According to AP, the technology is already being used by police in Beijing and Shanghai. The police are apparently using the software to locate people in crowds and apprehend jaywalkers, with the end goal of developing an integrated national system of CCTV camera data.

Huang, a former researcher, said he left academia to co-found Watrix in 2016 after seeing how promising the technology had become. According to him, the technology would also likely be used to help elderly people who have fallen down and are in need of help.

AP also didn’t miss any time to jump on the propaganda bandwagon, so it also reported that authorities in Xianjiang also showed interest in the technology.

MSM continues to claim that China represses the Uighurs and is sending them to “prison camps,” but at the same time disregards any comments by the Chinese side or reports it has released into terrorist activity in the region.

In October 2018, Chinese state outlet Xinhua interviewed Shohrat Zakir, chairman of the Government of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region on issues of counterterrorism, as well as the vocational and training program in the region.

The so-called “prison camps” turned out to be vocational camps, in which people at risk of being led to extremism are trained at a vocation and language skills and have a place to stay, until they’re ready to become full-fledged members of society that contribute.

“Based on its own realities, Xinjiang has given equal importance to fighting and preventing terrorism, and sought to combine the fight against violent terrorist crimes with the protection of human rights. On one hand, Xinjiang has put emphasis on strictly countering a small number of violent terrorist crimes according to law, and spared no efforts in protecting the basic human rights of the citizens from the harm of terrorism and extremism. On the other hand, Xinjiang has also stressed addressing the root cause of terrorism, and moved to bring around, educate and save the majority of those who committed petty crimes, through assistance and education, to prevent them from becoming victims of terrorism and extremism,” Zakir said.

Senior Communist Party of China officials also said that in Xianjiang the authorities must focus on ethnic and religious solidarity.

A recent Chinese report also shed some light on counterterrorism activities in Xianjiang.

According to it, since 2014 Xinjiang has “destroyed 1,588 violent and terrorist gangs, arrested 12,995 terrorists, seized 2,052 explosive devices, punished 30,645 people for 4,858 illegal religious activities, and confiscated 345,229 copies of illegal religious materials.”

Only a small number of those apprehended faced harsh consequences, mostly those who are ringleaders of armed groups. Others who were simply influenced by “extremist thinking” receive education and training to teach them the error of their ways, the paper said.

“Education and training centers have been established with the goal of educating and rehabilitating people guilty of minor crimes or law-breaking and eradicating the influence of terrorism and extremism, in order to prevent them from falling victim to terrorism and extremism, and to nip terrorist activities in the bud,” said the white paper, titled “The Fight Against Terrorism and Extremism and Human Rights Protection in Xinjiang.”

The World Uighur Congress denounced the report claiming that China was warping the truth.

“China is deliberately distorting the truth,” spokesman Dilxat Raxit said in an emailed statement. “Counter-terrorism is a political excuse to suppress the Uighurs. The real aim of the so-called de-radicalization is to eliminate faith and thoroughly carry out Sinification.”

Chinese AI efforts in counter-terrorism and security are often being represented by mainstream media as something aimed at one social group only. This allows mainstream media outlets to speculate on the topic and use it to pressure China on a media front. However, the real practice seems to be a quite different. While this approach may raise some ethical concerns, it is not something employed by China very locally. In fact, Beijing is actively intergrating AI surveillance into its state security system across the entire country.

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Natural treatments that can ease symptoms of alcohol and drug abuse and withdrawal

Maybe you have finally decided to quit alcohol or drugs, but because your brain has become so dependent on these substances, you are experiencing withdrawal symptoms. To help you overcome these addictions, here are some natural treatments you can try:

Kudzu (Radix puerariae): Kudzu is a Chinese medicine that has been used to treat alcohol abuse and dependence for nearly 2,000 years. Research shows that the extract of this medicinal plant substantially reduces alcohol craving and consumption.

Red sage (Salvia miltiorrhiza): Another Chinese herbal medicine, red sage may reduce absorption of alcohol through the stomach. Studies show that this herb reduces alcohol-seeking behavior in rats genetically engineered to prefer alcohol. In addition, pre-treatment with red sage has also been shown to reduce blood alcohol levels by 60 percent.

Chinese Angelica-tree (Aralia elata): Chinese Angelica-tree is a component in a Chinese herbal formula that is traditionally used to prevent or reduce alcohol intoxication. Studies report that this herb can inhibit alcohol absorption.

Iboga (Tabernanthe iboga): The root of this African shrub contains ibogaine, which is a naturally occurring alkaloid that can significantly reduce alcohol intake.

Cannabis (Cannabis indica): Cannabis is said to be effective in treating delirium tremens, which is a life-threatening complication of acute alcohol withdrawal. Research also shows that it provides immediate relief from this complication. Cannabis can also help lower the possibility of relapse in abstinent alcoholics.

Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera): Ashwagandha, a popular Ayurvedic medicine, has been shown to reduce the severity of withdrawal from morphine. In animal studies, mice pre-treated with this herb for 10 days did not develop tolerance to the analgesic effects of morphine.

Ginseng (Panax ginseng): Widely used in both Chinese medicine and Western herbal medicine, ginseng is said to mitigate tolerance and dependence linked to the long-term abuse of drugs like cocaine, methamphetamine or morphine. Researchers believe that this effect may be attributed to ginseng’s ability to inhibit the decline of dopamine in the brain caused by narcotics.

Valerian (Valeriana officinalis): The extract of the Valerian plant has been shown to reduce withdrawal symptoms and promotes a normal sleep pattern after prolonged use of benzodiazepine drugs, such as clonazepam and lorazepam. Animal studies show that it can also improve withdrawal symptoms in rats dependent on diazepam.

Polyenylphosphatidylcholine (PPC): Prolonged use of alcohol damages the liver, and taking PPC before alcohol intake can reduce or protect the liver from damage. PPC reduces the induction of liver enzymes associated with alcohol consumption.

Fatty acids: Omega-3 fatty acids are known to play a role in brain processes. However, alcohol abuse causes omega-3 levels in the blood to decline. As a result, alcohol-dependent people tend to experience depression and other mental health problems. Research shows that taking omega-3 fatty acids may mitigate the severity of alcohol withdrawal and improve mood and overall cognitive function of people quitting alcohol. Omega-6 fatty acids in the form of evening primrose oil may also help in reducing the severity of alcohol withdrawal, normalizing liver enzymes, and improving cognitive function.

Withdrawal symptoms may vary, depending on the drug/s used, duration of use, your age, psychological characteristics, and method of withdrawal. Alcohol, opiates, and tranquilizers produce serious physical withdrawal symptoms like headaches, breathing difficulty, palpitations, nausea, diarrhea, stomach aches, muscle aches, twitches, tremors, sweating, and tingling. Other drugs, such as cocaine and ecstasy cause more emotional withdrawal symptoms like anxiety, depression, sleep problems, and poor cognitive function.

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Communist Chinese government announces bounty rewards for informants who identify Christians to be “disappeared” by the regime

Too many Americans forget this, but in Communist China where most of our consumer products are manufactured these days, it’s illegal to be a Christian. And the Communist Chinese government is now offering cash rewards to anyone who snitches on Chinese Christians who lead so-called “house churches,” which operate under the radar of the oppressive Communist Chinese regime.

According to reports, the Guangzhou Department of Ethnic and Religious Affairs has announced that it will pay the yen equivalent of $1,500 U.S. – an amount that’s roughly equal to an average two-month income in China – to anyone who successfully leads authorities to Christian house churches, which the Chinese government sees as a constant threat.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, who’s repeatedly met with President Donald Trump to discuss issues related mostly to trade, is said to be going after both Christian and Muslims “with great zeal,” as he sees the views of these two religions as conflicting with the goals of China’s communist government.

President Jinping apparently sees the spread of both Christianity and Islam in his country as an “infiltration” that threatens to undermine his own power – which indeed it does, seeing as how Big Government functions as a religion in and of itself.

“He is wrong about foreign powers but right in that religion does, in fact, undermine government power, because it allows people to turn to spiritual leaders and to each other for guidance and help,” reports correctly point out.

“Totalitarian governments cannot allow that to happen.”

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Communist China’s persecution of Christians has greatly intensified in recent months

Back in January, The Guardian (U.K.) reported that persecution of Christians especially is intensifying throughout China at the same time that Christianity is reportedly spreading like wildfire.

Members of “underground” Christian churches in China say that they’re increasingly being targeted by Chinese police, who arrested more than 100 members of a congregation known as Early Rain Covenant Church, located in the city of Chengdu, back in December.

Other members of this congregation who weren’t arrested have since gone in to hiding, while others are under official government surveillance as perceived threats for “inciting subversion,” a “crime” that can land a Chinese person in prison for up to 15 years.

The situation is getting so bad for Christians in China that civil rights activists have declared this latest crackdown to be the worst since the infamous Chinese leader Mao Zedong declared his “Cultural Revolution,” which promised to completely eradicate all religion from within China’s borders.

President Jinping’s approach is a bit different, though, as the communist leader is instead trying to absorb Christianity as opposed to just eradicating it – which would effectively turn it into a religion of the state, making it no longer Christianity.

“The government has orchestrated a campaign to ‘sinicise’ Christianity, to turn Christianity into a fully domesticated religion that would do the bidding of the party,” says Lian Xi, a professor at Duke University in North Carolina who specializes in Christianity and its existence in modern-day China.

Following the shutdown of hundreds of Christian churches throughout China over the past several months, President Jinping is basically offering former congregants an ultimatum: either rebrand yourself as approved Communist Chinese “Christians,” or else face the ire of the authoritarian state – which, by the way, is starting to creep its way into the United States.

“The goal of the crackdown is not to eradicate religions,” adds Ying Fuk Tsang, Director of the Christian Study Centre on Chinese Religion and Culture at The Chinese University of Hong Kong, as quoted by The Guardian.

“President Xi Jinping is trying to establish a new order on religion, suppressing its blistering development. [The government] aims to regulate the ‘religious market’ as a whole.”

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Buyers, beware – These foods from China have all been proven to be contaminated

If you opened up your refrigerator or pantry right now, would you be able to identify where everything inside of them originated? If you’re like many people, there’s a good chance the answer to this question is no – and you could end up paying a very steep price for this ignorance.

Unfortunately, a lot of food sold throughout the world comes from China, where the standards leave a lot to be desired. In fact, the founder of a company called Inscatech that uncovers fraud and malpractice in the food industry, Mitchell Weinberg, said that while they uncover this type of fraud around 70 percent of the time overall, it’s close to 100 percent in China. Do you really want to eat anything that comes from the same country where baby formula was laced with melamine and rat meat was sold as lamb?

Here is a look at some of the foods that you should be particularly wary of if they come from China.


Water pollution is out of control in China, so it only makes sense to avoid consuming anything that once swam in its dirty waters. More than half of the tilapia and cod that are sold in the U.S. were grown on a Chinese fish farm, so it’s not uncommon to find heavy metals like lead or mercury in this fish.


The Chinese people have a reputation for loving their rice, and because so much of it is grown there, it isn’t surprising that a lot of the rice sold in North America comes from the country. That’s unfortunate because China has been exporting what’s known as a “plastic rice” that is little more than a mix of resin and potato.


You might have heard about the health benefits of garlic, but if your garlic comes from China, it might have the opposite effect on your health as Chinese garlic has been found to be laced with methyl bromide and other pesticides. With as much as a third of the garlic sold in the U.S. originating there, you need to be vigilant to avoid this potential danger.

Apple juice

It may sound oddly specific, but Chinese apple juice was singled out by the Alternative Daily for several reasons. First, there’s the fact that the government had restricted the import of apples from China for a time, a serious step that indicates major problems. A few years ago, health officials discovered that apple juice imported from China contained antifreeze. That might no longer be a problem, but any apple that was grown in toxin-laced Chinese soil is an apple that you definitely want to avoid.

Green peas

Rice isn’t the only food that scammers are trying to fake in China. Counterfeit green peas have been found there that are made using sodium metabisulfite, soy, a green dye, and small amounts of real green peas.


If you thought fake peas and rice sounded bad, you will definitely be turned off when you learn that Chinese mushrooms have prompted safety concerns around the world. The farmers there have been known to add formaldehyde and sulfur dioxide to make them appear fresher. Read labels carefully; a third of the processed mushrooms that are consumed in America originate in China.

Chinese food regulations are notoriously lax, and widespread government corruption means that the few regulations they do have are rarely upheld. When you buy food from China, you are taking a gamble on your health and possibly your life – is that worth saving a few bucks? This is why many experts recommend you buy locally, where you can be more confident in the processes and sources used.

Read CleanFoodWatch.com for daily coverage of food contamination.

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China: Muslim ‘Re-Education’ Camps Needed to Prevent Another New Zealand Massacre

China cited the Christchurch massacre in New Zealand to justify pervasive surveillance and gigantic detention centers for Muslims, arguing such methods are necessary to prevent violent friction between ethnic and religious groups.

The government of Muslim-heavy Xinjiang province claimed its heavy-handed methods were necessary to make Xinjiang safe for investment and commerce, which in turn offer the only long-term solution to unrest among the Uighur minority.
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New Zealand Bans ‘Every Semi-Automatic Weapon Used In The Terrorist Attack’

The latest technique Beijing is using to steamroller the Uighurs involves literal steamrollers: a “community redevelopment” project in the city of Urumqi that looks suspiciously like ethnic cleansing. The Chinese are razing the ancient city to the ground, wiping out hundreds of mosques, restaurants serving traditional food, and bookstores selling Uighur literature.

The parts of Urumqi not dismantled entirely are littered with cameras, biometric scanners, and police checkpoints, turning the city into a huge prison. When the WSJ asked about Urumqi, the Chinese essentially responded that residents should be thankful for all the money invested to modernize their city and improve its infrastructure.

The Asean Post warned on Tuesday that China has made great progress on eliminating Uighur culture and religion and is confident the international community will do nothing serious to prevent it from finishing the job.

The article pointed out China’s profound hypocrisy in treating radical Islam as an existential threat to domestic security while actively supporting and defending it in countries the Chinese wish to destabilize:

With the exception of Turkey, even predominantly Muslim countries that were quick to condemn Myanmar for its treatment of Rohingya Muslims have remained conspicuously silent on China. While Pakistan’s military-backed prime minister, Imran Khan, has feigned ignorance about the Xinjiang crackdown, Saudi Arabia’s powerful crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, has gone so far as to defend China’s right to police “terrorism.”

Emboldened by the muted international response, China has stepped up its drive to Sinicize Xinjiang by demolishing Muslim neighborhoods. In Urumqi and other cities, once-bustling Uighur districts have been replaced with heavily policed zones purged of Islamic culture.

The irony is that while China justifies its “re-education hospitals” as necessary to cleanse Muslim minds at home of extremist thoughts, it is effectively supporting Islamist terrorism abroad. For example, China has repeatedly blocked United Nations (UN) sanctions against Masood Azhar, the head of the Pakistan-based, UN-designated terrorist group responsible for carrying out serial attacks in India, including on Parliament and, most recently, on a paramilitary police convoy.

The Asean Post saluted U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for calling out China’s game on social media in March:

As a minor quibble, it is not quite “hypocrisy” or inconsistent behavior if China’s rulers have concluded Islam is a destabilizing force to be suppressed at home but nourished within competing nations. It is a characteristically cold calculation by ruthless Communist leaders, who have been making such calculations on a routine basis since the inception of their ideology. Hypocrisy comes into play when Chinese leaders pretend to be anything other than aggressive totalitarian adversaries prepared to use any means necessary to weaken other nations and protect their own grip on power.

The Chinese are staging a social-media counteroffensive to portray policies in Xinjiang as a justifiable response to terrorism, fully supported by the (non-Uighur) Chinese population. A major goal of the online campaign is to challenge all negative news and uncomfortable images from the Xinjiang camps as disinformation and fabrications.

The European Union criticized China for human rights abuses from its annual summit on Tuesday, but activists were disappointed the EU did not specifically name and condemn Chinese practices in Xinjiang, Tibet, and other oppressed regions. A demonstration that included family members of people imprisoned in Chinese re-education camps was held outside EU headquarters in Brussels during the summit.


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Chinese National With Two Passports, Four Phones And Malware Arrested At Mar-a-Lago

A Chinese national with four cell phones, two passports, electronic devices and a thumb-drive containing malware was arrested at President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club on Saturday after she was able to penetrate security, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

32-year-old Yujing Zhang approached a Secret Service agent outside the Palm Beach club early Saturday afternoon, claiming to be a member who wanted to use the pool according to court documents.

After showing her passports to try and prove she was a member who simply wanted to use the pool, agents determined that she wasn’t on the membership list – however admitted her anyway after some confusion over whether she was the daughter of a member, citing a “language barrier.”

Once she got inside, Zhang changed her story – telling a front desk receptionist that she was there to attend the United Nations Chinese American Association event scheduled for that evening. The only problem; the event did not exist, so agents were quickly summoned.

Agent Samuel Ivanovich wrote in court documents that Zhang told him that she was there for the Chinese American event and had come early to familiarize herself with the club and take photos, again contradicting what she had said at the checkpoint. She showed him an invitation in Chinese that he could not read.

He said Zhang was taken off the grounds and told she could not be there. Ivanovich said she became argumentative, so she was taken to the local Secret Service office for questioning.

There, he said, it became clear Zhang speaks and reads English well. He said Zhang said she had traveled from Shanghai to attend the non-existent Mar-a-Lago event on the invitation of an acquaintance named "Charles," whom she only knew through a Chinese social media app. Ivanovich said she then denied telling the checkpoint agents she was a member wanting to swim. -Sun Sentinel

Zhang was carrying four cell phones, an external hard drive, a thumb drive containing malware and a laptop computer. She did not have a swimsuit.

She is charged with making false statements to federal agents and illegally entering a restricted area, according to the complaint, and remains in custody pending a hearing next week.

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China’s “1984” Social Credit System Humiliates ‘Deadbeats’ with Embarrassing Ringtone

The South China Morning Post reported on Tuesday that most people with low social credit scores were labeled “discredited” or “deadbeats” because they have debt problems. The most widely reported punishment meted out by the computerized system is restricted travel privileges. Many of the subjects learn they have slipped into the worst category, known as laolai, when they attempt to board an airplane and are turned away at the gate.

The SCMP pointed out that many other indignities are heaped upon the laolai, such as forcing them to ride on special slow trains, banning them from renting hotel rooms–and, most bizarrely, forcing them to use a special ringtone that embarrasses them every time they receive a phone call in public.
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Watch: Trump Says There’s ‘Collusion’ Involving Social Media Companies Against Conservatives

Australia’s ABC News said the ringtone sounds like a siren and is accompanied by a verbal message cautioning callers to be “careful in their business dealings” with the alleged deadbeat.

ABC News reported on another over-the-top aspect of the social credit system: an app running on WeChat that generates a map with a radar-style graphic overlay that “pings” every laolai around the user. The app is commonly known as the “Deadbeat Map.”

As of January, the system appeared to be displaying the registered home addresses of people with low credit scores, but there is no reason it could not be upgraded to show their current live locations based on their cell phones and other information gathered by the increasingly inescapable Chinese surveillance system.

“Tapping on a person marked on the map reveals their personal information, including their full name, court case number and the reason they have been labeled untrustworthy. Identity card numbers and home addresses are also partially shown,” ABC reported.

For the benefit of anyone still foolish enough to believe there is meaningful separation between the totalitarian Chinese Communist government and “private” Chinese business enterprises, WeChat management insisted the Deadbeat Map is totally compliant with its user privacy and data security standards. It is an app that will display extensive personal information to complete strangers if the government decides to lower one’s “social credit” score below a certain threshold–a decision citizens are not always informed of in a timely manner, but it’s no problem at all for WeChat’s privacy standards.

A “discredited individual” named David Kong, who was recently forced onto a 30-hour train ride because his low social credit score barred him from taking a three-hour trip by airplane, told the South China Morning Post that being a laolai is worse than serving time in prison.

“Being on the list means that as long as you can’t clear your debts in full, your name will always be there,” he said.

Kong went on to explain that not only was the 30-hour train ride uncomfortable, but the business associates who picked him up at the railroad station instantly knew he had a low social credit score. He noted this aspect of the system creates a downward spiral where people with debt problems cannot make business deals or land good jobs to earn the money they need to address their financial situation. His creditors essentially told the SCMP that he deserves his fate because he went into debt taking out loans for a sham book publishing company.

Kong actually wanted to make the social credit system more extensive by adding more inputs that would help “deadbeats” repair their reputations by doing community service and engaging in responsible activities. According to ABC, the engineers of the Orwellian system are thinking more in terms of adding more ways to reduce social credit scores:

One private credit system using data from Alibaba rates people not only on their financial capacity but also on their consumer choices.

The example Sesame Credit technology director Li Yingyun gave Chinese media is that a person who buys nappies regularly is responsible, while someone who plays video games all day would be considered lazy.

Getting kicked off an airplane because the national computer system decides you play too many video games sounds like a satire of dystopian science fiction, but it is actually a logical progression of the system, whose stated goal is to increase “social dependability”–in other words, the old Communist ideal of hard-working, obedient, politically reliable subjects.

Any American tempted to laugh at the absurdity of the Chinese system should pause to reflect that most of the data processing capacity and raw information to inflict such a system on Americans is already in place. It is not difficult to imagine a “Medicare for All” socialized medicine system that monitors how much time its captive subjects spend playing video games versus healthy fitness activity and adjusts their mandatory “contributions” accordingly.

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Frankenstein Alterations Around The Corner: China’s CRISPR twins might have had their brains inadvertently enhanced

New research suggests that a controversial gene-editing experiment to make children resistant to HIV may also have enhanced their ability to learn and form memories.

The brains of two genetically edited girls born in China last year may have been changed in ways that enhance cognition and memory, scientists say.

The twins, called Lulu and Nana, reportedly had their genes modified before birth by a Chinese scientific team using the new editing tool CRISPR. The goal was to make the girls immune to infection by HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

Now, new research shows that the same alteration introduced into the girls’ DNA, deletion of a gene called CCR5, not only makes mice smarter but also improves human brain recovery after stroke, and could be linked to greater success in school.

“The answer is likely yes, it did affect their brains,” says Alcino J. Silva, a neurobiologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, whose lab uncovered a major new role for the CCR5 gene in memory and the brain’s ability to form new connections.

“The simplest interpretation is that those mutations will probably have an impact on cognitive function in the twins,” says Silva. He says the exact effect on the girls’ cognition is impossible to predict, and “that is why it should not be done.”
Photo of Dr. Jiankui He
He Jiankui poses for the cameras of the Associated Press in the days before his gene-editing experiments became known.
Mark Schiefelbein | AP

The Chinese team, led by He Jiankui of the Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen, claimed it used CRISPR to delete CCR5 from human embryos, some of which were later used to create pregnancies. HIV requires the CCR5 gene to enter human blood cells.

The experiment has been widely condemned as irresponsible, and He is under investigation in China. News of the first gene-edited babies also inflamed speculation about whether CRISPR technology could one day be used to create super-intelligent humans, perhaps as part of a biotechnology race between the US and China.

There is no evidence that He actually set out to modify the twins’ intelligence. MIT Technology Review contacted scientists studying the effects of CCR5 on cognition, and they say the Chinese scientist never reached out to them, as he did to others from whom he hoped to get scientific advice or support.
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“As far as I know, we never heard from him,” says Miou Zhou, a professor at the Western University of Health Sciences in California.

Although He never consulted the brain researchers, the Chinese scientist was certainly aware of the link between CCR5 and cognition. It was first shown in 2016 by Zhou and Silva, who found that removing the gene from mice significantly improved their memory. The team had looked at more than 140 different genetic alterations to find which made mice smarter.

Silva says because of his research, he sometimes interacts with figures in Silicon Valley and elsewhere who have, in his opinion, an unhealthy interest in designer babies with better brains. That’s why, when the birth of the twins became public on November 25, Silva says he immediately wondered if it had been an attempt at this kind of alteration. “I suddenly realized—Oh, holy shit, they are really serious about this bullshit,” says Silva. “My reaction was visceral repulsion and sadness.”

During a summit of gene editing scientists that occurred two days later in Hong Kong, He acknowledged he had known all along about the potential brain effects from the UCLA research. “I saw that paper, it needs more independent verification,” He replied when asked about it during a Q&A session (see video here). He added: “I am against using genome editing for enhancement.”

Whatever He’s true aims, evidence continues to build that CCR5 plays a major role in the brain. Today, for example, Silva and a large team from the US and Israel say they have new proof that CCR5 acts as a suppressor of memories and synaptic connections.

According to their new report, appearing in the journal Cell, people who naturally lack CCR5 recover more quickly from strokes. What’s more, people missing at least one copy of the gene seem to go further in school, suggesting a possible role in everyday intelligence.

“We are the first to report a function of CCR5 in the human brain, and the first to report a higher level of education,” says UCLA biologist S. Thomas Carmichael, who led the new study. He calls the link to educational success “tantalizing” but says it needs further study.

The discoveries about CCR5 are already being followed up in drug trials on both stroke patients and people with HIV, who sometimes suffer memory problems. In those studies, one of which is under way at UCLA, people are being given an anti-HIV drug, Maraviroc, which chemically blocks CCR5, to see if it improves their cognition.

Silva says there is a big difference between trying to correct deficits in such patients and trying to create enhancement. “Cognitive problems are one of the biggest unmet needs in medicine. We need drugs, but it’s another thing to take normal people and muck with the DNA or chemistry to improve them,” he says. “We simply don’t know enough to do it. Nature has struck a very fine balance.”

Just because we shouldn’t alter normal intelligence doesn’t mean we can’t. Silva says the genetic manipulations used to make “smart mice” show not only that it is possible, but that changing CCR5 has particularly big effects.

“Could it be conceivable that at one point in the future we could increase the average IQ of the population? I would not be a scientist if I said no. The work in mice demonstrates the answer may be yes,” he says. “But mice are not people. We simply don’t know what the consequences will be in mucking around. We are not ready for it yet.”

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