Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Data leak reveals China is tracking almost 2.6m people in Xinjiang (ft.com)
164 points by metaphysics 30 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 91 comments




Indeed, what a brave New world.

People do not forget abuse on such a level, and collective trauma does not go away overnight. I am sure there will be more sadness in the future, when people will discuss effects of the repressive policies on the Uigurs.


[flagged]


> Please don't use Hacker News primarily for political or ideological battle. This destroys intellectual curiosity, and we ban accounts that do it.

You've been doing this too much. Please stop.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


I’m sure China thinks this is a really great idea, but seriously, what a waste of resources. This goes against the very existential reason for organizing into complex societies in the first place, and second if the powers at be were students of philosophy and especially history they would know that this kind of behavior never ends well for the ruling class.


I think dictators have learned a lot and technology has the possibility to be a real game changer. A few years ago I watched The Red Chapel which is a documentary on which the director and two comedians visit North Korea under the pretence of performing a comedy show there. At one point it got clear that people there even have to keep their basic emotions secret. How do you overthrow the government if it had become that controlling and good at monitoring? I'm afraid it might not be possible.

Even more terrifying is the thought that if my above fear that this now might be a one-way road is true, is eventually every country going to become a oppressive dictatorship? On top of that we've seen the last year or so that we now have propaganda warfare on social media. Having free speech and little internal propaganda is clearly a weakness...

Edit: formatting


I don’t think we have seen anything like this in history. In past it was different, because your possibilities for collecting and processing information were much more limited. Also the security apparatus had to employ huge number of people, making it harder to control and less reliable.


Agree that we've never seen anything like current surveillance capabilities, but there have been big jumps before. For example, IBM famously supplied equipment that made it possible for WW2 Germany (did I dodge Godwin's law?) to collate evidence of ethnicity at a scale not known before, with disastrous results [1].

I think that to some, surveillance often looks like a way to get the efficiency of distributed decision making while keeping central control (which has definitely been the philosophy behind China's economic experiments of the past 30y). But historically, it has arced towards enforcing centralized organization for reasons that have nothing to do with the efficiency of the tech involved - and that pattern has proven both bad for a population and self-defeating for regimes.

[1] http://movies2.nytimes.com/books/first/b/black-ibm.html


Definitely. Remember when the Snowden documents disclosed the Utah facilities keeping ~5 years of every communication record of every person, processed into the most actionable metadata, and the related capabilities to search and correlate the content, interrelationships, and signals implicit across those communications?

This is something that could only be targeted decades ago. Now its cost-admissible to run at scale - and to do so adaptively to improve the methods.

viivaux 30 days ago [flagged]

There was a time when your comments here would be discussed and generally agreed with instead of blindly downvoted and removed.

Come to think of it, I can't remember the last time HN had a good discussion about US censorship and surveillance.

Weird.


Well as somebody who is very anti US-monitoring, let me help you understand:

Your comments are so unproductive (i.e. emotional/irrelevant/us-vs-them) that they actually undermine the cause you say you're concerned about. You give the rest of us a bad name.


Would you please stop posting flamewar comments to HN? They only lower the quality of this site even further.


There was no legitimate reason to remove this man's comments. He provided a legitimate perspective, and wasn't flaming anyone or being rude.

Defending him was your job, not mine.


Defending someone is no reason to break the site guidelines. If you keep doing that, we will ban you.

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19187633 was particularly unacceptable.


What's the existential reason for organizing complex societies? -_-a


Defense against other complex societies.


Quality of life


I'm not sure the tons of 18th-19th century working poor brought in from their rural towns and farms to industrial London (by laws that purposefully made their old trades deprecated), working and living under hellish dickensian conditions would agree...


What? Other cultures also want to protect their identity? I thought only mine was allowed to.


I'd genuinely love to hear your analysis of the American surveillance state.


That's roughly 10% of the population (23M). At its peak, the Stasi in the DDR had files on about 30% of the East German population.


Stasi files were actual files in an archive. You needed actual manpower to walk into archive, retrieve, analyze and act. Any new entry took time to enter into the system.

Chinese can have thousands of datapoints per day (with their mandatory phone apps, cameras, checkpoints). They can automatically analyze them in real time. They can get summaries and automatically classify people.


Not in real time.


The technology and social tracking tools that the authorities in Beijing have at their disposal would make the Stasi drool in envy.


The population of East Germany was 18 million in 1950 and 16 million in 1990. On the same order of magnitude. But I think it would be much easier for China to keep tabs on millions nowadays than the Stasi back then.


Completely agree. If I was sadistic enough, a few web scrapers and .csv files and some workers on fiverr could keep enough tabs on millions of people so as to be scary.


China's population was 1.386 billion in 2017.

Do you mean 10% of the subpopulation pertinent to the region?


I believe they were referring to Xinjiang's population (~21.8 million)


Looks like.


And doesn't NSA and co track 100% of the population?


Even if so, you agree? Acceptable? Silly statement.


If I disagree, shouldn't I be consistent in my disagreement? Silly (or hypocritical/self-serving, ie. "patriotic") inconsistency.


I think the point of coldtea's comment is that:

- We're being inconsistent with our criticism, unwilling to apply it as a universal standard

- We're talking about others (Chinese) needing to rebel, blaming this on brainwashing, without adknowledging our own inability and unwillingness to act, without being willing to label this brainwashing

- We're building over the course of increasingly ignorant veiled-criticism posts of foreign cultures a dog-whistle for Chinese racism within our tech culture

- We're narrowly conceptualizing the issues fundamental to these technologies, spending our energy on exasperation that contributes to nationalistic sentiment, rather than addressing the global systemic abuse

- Our "blindspot" of admitting our own state the abuse of information fundamentally carves out, via the course of international law and sovereignty, the justification for other countries to do the exact same

In essence: fixing this kind of thing starts at home in the United States. Sunday morning HN comment anguish over the Uighurs of China is navel gazing.


> We're being inconsistent with our criticism, unwilling to apply it as a universal standard

A cursory search on HN will give you countless counter-examples. Can you give me an example of the inconsistency?

Are you suggesting there should be no posts criticizing China? or every such a post should have a banner claiming "Be gentle. Don't criticize too much. Look into the mirror"? how about HN visitors not from the US?

> We're talking about others (Chinese) needing to rebel, blaming this on brainwashing, without adknowledging our own inability and unwillingness to act, without being willing to label this brainwashing

You know what is brainwashing? "China’s most popular app is a propaganda tool teaching Xi Jinping Thought" [0]

> Our "blindspot" of admitting our own state the abuse of information fundamentally carves out, via the course of international law and sovereignty, the justification for other countries to do the exact same

First off, the US is not the leader of surveillance. Other countries don't need US's approval to implement their own surveillance. What a smack of arrogance. Are you sure you don't believe in American supremacy?

Secondly, I'm not aware of any "international law" that justifies surveillance because "the US does it".

> In essence: fixing this kind of thing starts at home in the United States. Sunday morning HN comment anguish over the Uighurs of China is navel gazing.

This reminds me of the the argument against space exploration: "Fix issues on Earth first before thinking of Mars". You know how absurd it is.

[0] https://www.scmp.com/tech/apps-social/article/2186037/chinas...


> We're being inconsistent with our criticism, unwilling to apply it as a universal standard

How do you even know? These complaints are never in direct response to a person who clearly espoused a hypocritical position, it's just general talking into the room, or in response to an assumption.

> rather than addressing the global systemic abuse

How is "but the NSA" achieving that? Or simply assuming someone else has this

> "blindspot" of admitting our own state

... what is "our", here? Americans? Humans? Carbon-based lifeforms? "The West"? If you have to make everything this diffuse and global and systemic to even tackle it, what's your proposed first step? What is a comment you like?

> Sunday morning HN comment anguish over the Uighurs of China is navel gazing.

I don't know what sunday morning HN comment anguish is supposed to be, but I know that not looking away, even when you could have easily looked away and people would prefer you to, is always good, even just for the person doing it.


That.

To add:

1) The complaints are often either hypocritical or naive, mirroring whatever target the official US policy (and thus media) have at that year. People oblivious to 99% of the goings-on around the world merely parrot opinions they read in the media about 1-2 select places, in tandem with official national "interests" against those places. At the same time when you see tons of blog posts, and media stories and so on (and movies and TV series) against country/situation X, you don't see any about country Y which is similarly or much worse, but an ally (or indifferent). E.g. complaining about the treatment of gay/women in place X but always forgetting Saudi Arabia unless it happens to coincide with some beef their country has with it.

2) Opinions used to sell state action and interventions, with blatant disregard for nuance and for the people in the area they're supposed to help. E.g. whenever there was an intervention to "bring democracy" etc, it created worse power vacuums and civil war hellholes in the places it touched (e.g. Iraq, Libya, Syria, jut in the last 15 years) -- but of course it also sold trillions of war merchandise.


> People oblivious to 99% of the goings-on around the world merely parrot opinions they read in the media about 1-2 select places

If you had been about to respond to that commenter "You are oblivious to 99% of the going on's around the world [0] and merely parrot opinions you read in the media", that probably would have given you pause. Being more indirect isn't being more polite, in my books.

[0] that could be parsed as either "to 99% of the stuff of which I am aware of, so I am aware of 100 times more things than you", or as "to 99% of all the stuff that actually goes on the world, which would mean you are aware of 1% of everything going on right now, which would make you something between Q and God", both of which are silly.

> At the same time when you see tons of blog posts, and media stories and so on (and movies and TV series) against country/situation X, you don't see any about country Y which is similarly or much worse, but an ally (or indifferent).

Another way to look at it is that 99.999% (exactly) of the stories here are basically fluff that can disappear quicker than you say "whoops" if the serious stuff isn't dealt with. How come that the precious few cases when something serious, whether it's in the US or elsewhere, gets some attention, are played off against each other? What does this achieve? What does this create room for? It's not a zero-sum game, where making assumptions about a commenter who made a very short comment stating a simple fact, without a hint of any of the stuff you conjure up, somehow improves discussion taking place elsewhere or in the future.


>[0] that could be parsed as either "to 99% of the stuff of which I am aware of, so I am aware of 100 times more things than you", or as "to 99% of all the stuff that actually goes on the world, which would mean you are aware of 1% of everything going on right now, which would make you something between Q and God", both of which are silly.

Both of which are accurate (which is almost as good as polite). The average American can't pinpoint Belgium on the map, much less understand global inter-state politics.

The people who do (and who don't just have an opinion based on reading NYT or Economist or worse Time) are much less. We're not even talking about having a nuanced opinion here, with all the subtleties of the history of the countries involved, etc.

Being from a country that has actual involvement with 20th/21st century history (with other nations etc), not as something abstract that happens away, but in real time, also helps. As opposed to an isolated huge country where the main concerns are the local (state) affairs, and where the average person seldom if ever reads foreign literature, seldom if ever listens to foreign music, and almost never watches foreign movies. Heck, the average person don't even watch the other countries' athletes in Olympics, the media only give them an one-sided US athletes coverage.

Heck, the average German or Frenchman can tell a lot more about global affairs than the average American, and I've had such discussions in all of those countries and more.

Heck, most Americans can't tell who their own Vice President is.


The average American doesn't know what the Stasi is. Mostly because the average American doesn't know exist, contrary to the person you responded to.

> The people who do (and who don't just have an opinion based on reading NYT or Economist or worse Time) are much less.

But at what percentage of Americans on a website do you just get to assume a commenter's nationality, and at what percentage of obliviousness to what is going on in the world and under their noses can you just declare an American ignorant by association, simply ignore any and all they said, and scold them for their supposed ignorance and one-sidedness? Again, what does this achieve?

> We're not even talking about having a nuanced opinion here, with all the subtleties of the history of the countries involved, etc.

I hope this isn't aiming at some kind of understanding how Chinese totalitarianism isn't really totalitarianism, or that for a Chinese child it's just different when their parents get tortured because they happened to own land at the wrong time, etc. I mean, what nuance could one be missing about harvesting organs from political prisoners? "Yes, it's horrible, but", is that the new "I'm not racist, but"?

And hey, when a Chinese employee in China makes a honest mistake the US government doesn't like, do they get them fired, as that Mariott employee got fired? When a Chinese company quotes someone Angela Merkel doesn't like on Chinese social media, does that company end up apologizing profusely, three times, like Mercedes Benz did for quoting the Dalai Lama (without attribution even, just the quote) on Instagram? At what point are we allowed to also talk about Chinese totalitarianism?

As a German, for me it's precisely not to "point fingers", I simply don't want this shit to be repeated elsewhere, either. And I cannot sit idly by when it's belittled or rationalized in any way. Not even when someone else might say the same thing with a different motivation or a different view of the world. I also don't think the world being fucked up elsewhere is something that relieves one of responsibility. Just like when you're on a sinking ship, that other ships are also sinking doesn't make it better, but even worse. It's simply orthogonal: criticizing China doesn't take away energy that would have been used for criticizing the US, it's simply that all these whataboutism comments ruined a discussion that, on a website where such stuff doesn't get flagged every single time anyway (while people complain about the crazy anti-China bent everyone is on, just seething with hatred against China, nothing to do with compassion, intelligence, and wishing China well), could have been interesting.

In the US, you have all necessary freedoms on paper, and probably more than enough even in practice, if people only used them, to change things. In China, that doesn't even remotely apply, and we're now decades into dissidents being murdered. The people who managed to survive in that system so far and are formed by it are not the people I ask "permission" of. They can forfeit their own human rights if they want, not those of their fellow citizens. Not 50 years ago, not today, not ever. Just like the Holocaust wouldn't have been suddenly okay if only the Nazis had won; and that the extent of it could even be somewhat discovered was because they lost the war, not because they didn't want to erase that completely from the history books, just like they completely erased villages.

I've also had many discussions about these subjects, but all of them combined were not half as insightful as the books by Sebastian Haffner and Hannah Arendt I read. They're a good way to find out just how dumb we have become, and how quickly. And when issues get split into country X versus country Y, rather than talking about individuals and groups of individuals within them and their actual actions and variety of motivations, that's already part of the circus for me. Abstractions that take on a life on their own in that way aren't helpful at all.

> [..] even the desert of neighbourlessness and mutual suspicion disappears, so that it is as if everybody melted together into giant being of enormous proportions. This too does the for a totalitarian environment so well prepared vernacular express in its own way when it no longer speaks of "the" Russians or "the" French, but tells us what "the" Russian or "the" Frenchman wants.

-- Hannah Arendt


I'm not sure what point you are trying to make...


Their surveillance efforts have reached roughly the same order of magnitude as the Stasi, and (as others point out) with far less effort.


This is just what leaked, they are undoubtedly tracking a lot more people than this.


My friend from China explained to me that the surveillance of people is as much top down as much as its bottom up.

- At every village level they have "informants" for the communist party who inform their higher ups regularly about village level activity. They are financially supported with healthcare and education subsidies and so it makes sense for everyone to join in and inform, especially the poor.

- At the city level they have more ways to collect information about people like companies feeding data bases, people interacting with the internet and retail.

He explained that the idea is even if 10% of the population is brain washed they can keep tabs on the 90% and when shit hits the fan they want to be in the know. After Tiananmen they have followed a formula: Keep enough people happy and conforming with economic prosperity and get ahead of the curb for restive remainder.


China also tolerates civil unrest and civil disobedience as long as it's not directly challenging the authority of central government. Official name for it is "mass incidents" or "mass frustration".

There are almost 200,000 of these incidents every year. Several of them grow into large demonstrations with barricades, sit-ins, and rioting. They are usually reactions against come companies, local government, land seizures, or some corrupt individuals.

As long as people don't demand changing of the system, government often gives in at least a little. People can be changed, more investigations, some government actions can be cancelled.

It's clever way to bend without breaking. Allow people to show their frustration against things that are wrong but control tightly what kind of targets are allowed.


China could probably go much further. In America, you're shut down and surveilled for demanding systemic changes to the system (just try to build a movement in the United States for a change of government; see where that gets you). Much of that surveillance is automatic, and fed into police threat scores and FBI databases based off of online conversations (like this one) and other information (including financials, purchase history, social circle, etc).

Now, in the United States, if you want to disrupt some other kind of corruption (say, farming industry practices around the treatment of animals) - this will get you on terrorist watchlists, and the FBI will infiltrate and seek the arrests of that behavior as well, enforcing the strict relationship that wealthy families have in the enforcement of American societal structure.


This is a false equivalence. Your second paragraph is just conspiracy theory. "It's all same" is cynical and unintelligent attitude.


I'm so absolutely tired of people dismissing very real concerns and positions of people with the term "conspiracy theory"! First of all, gp isn't wrong, those things do happen in America and we have had plenty of proof leak over the years to back that up. Second, the entire history of the world is chock-full of conspiracy, so to dismiss points so blithely and naively as " conspiracy theory" indicates a lack of knowledge of history. Third, has everyone just forgotten that the term itself was pushed post JFK assassination as a psyop tool by the CIA to discredit anyone who questioned the Warren commission?

If it weren't for Snowden many of us who had been ranting about the NSA would still be getting dismissed with off-hand remarks of "conspiracy theorist" with a condescending undertone. Yet even as those of us warning about these issues move on to tell people about the next thing, we get the same thing. Even worse, after being proved right by Wikileaks or Snowden etc, those same people are still making excuses for their failure to heed those warnings. For example, I can't tell you how frustrating it is to start talking about NSA and to get "yeah we'll, we knew about echelon, it wasn't a surprise" type comments. Yes, those of us paying attention knew, but the problem is that we all got dismissed by smugly idiotic people with phrases like "crackpot conspiracy theorist"...


"Those things do happen" is not proper counterargument. I'm aware that they happen and I'm worried.

They just don't happen in the same scale and they don't have as bad consequences for people.


There is a huge difference between "that's not true, it's a conspiracy theory", and "oh sure it does happen, but at a different scale and with less bad consequences [not that I would want to suffer the worst consequences in either scenario]".

> "Those things do happen" is not proper counterargument.

To "that's a conspiracy theory" it actually is, and though I still agree that it's a red herring to talk about the US when China is brought up (and China or Russia or human nature when the US is brought up), it's not a "conspiracy theory" at all.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/earth-insight/2013/j...

> It is therefore not surprising that the increasing privatisation of intelligence has coincided with the proliferation of domestic surveillance operations against political activists, particularly those linked to environmental and social justice protest groups.

> Department of Homeland Security documents released in April prove a "systematic effort" by the agency "to surveil and disrupt peaceful demonstrations" linked to Occupy Wall Street, according to the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF).

> Similarly, FBI documents confirmed "a strategic partnership between the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and the private sector" designed to produce intelligence on behalf of "the corporate security community." A PCJF spokesperson remarked that the documents show "federal agencies functioning as a de facto intelligence arm of Wall Street and Corporate America."


You said none of that in your original argument.


False equivalence AND conspiracy theory? Lol.

In order...

"False equivalence": Nope, not saying they are equivalent.

"Conspiracy theory": Nope, read the reporting on the Snowden documents, fusion centers, legal cases involving use of surveillance, statements by the American Civil Liberties Union.

"It's all the same": I think what America is doing is both worse and of a different kind.


> In America, you're shut down and surveilled for demanding systemic changes to the system (just try to build a movement in the United States for a change of government; see where that gets you)

Have you tried? Did you know that the United States communist party has been in existence for a century? [0]

> (says, farming industry practices around the treatment of animals) - this will get you on terrorist watchlists

I'm not aware PETA is on terrorist watchlist.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communist_Party_USA


I mean, the communist party was outlawed in the US in 1954, so probably not the best example.


The thing with informants is they can lie. They can pretend the loyalists are dissenters and the dissenters are loyalists. They can tell stories just because they personally don't like someone. They can demand protection money. It's vastly more fragile and unreliable than a system based on technology.

Sure the engineers can make the system lie. And they probably will to some extent. But it's a much smaller number of people you need to keep pleased and policed.


The formula of appealing to a small base which keeps you in power through cronyism is the formula for power. It’s true in every place you find political and financial power, from Beijing to small-town USA, to corporate boardrooms around the world, and tinpot dictators around the world.

You might enjoy reading The Dictator’s Handbook.


How is that different from people working for FB Or Google?

It's same there, a few of them are financially rewarded for pushing privacy evanding tactics and others silently follow otherwise risk being reported.


Except Facebook and Google aren't operating mass incarceration camps that target people solely based on ethnic/religious affiliation. The moral dubiousness of working for Google isn't the same as working as an informant for the Chinese secret police.


Facebook does play a pretty direct role in the ongoing Rohingya genocide.


Facebook has paramilitary factions genociding the Rohingya? I'm not denying that Facebook played a role in the spread of misinformation and conspiracy theories in Myanmar but to place the blame directly on them is absurd. Facebook is just an ill-moderated medium.


There's more than that. Messenger/Facebook is used in a lot of the third world in place of stuff like SMS and phone calls.

Facebook completely kneecapped the ability of the Rohingya to organize and tell their story by pulling stuff like this at the request of the Burmese government. https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/sep/20/facebook-...

EDIT: This whole idea that Facebook's only sin was not moderating enough, and that they didn't give direct support to the government to help the genocide is just their PR and legal departments going into overdrive because they know they screwed up hard.


This is just part of the reason mass tracking is bad, you never know who is going to end up with the data.


What do you mean? Simply because they have it means it's bad, regardless of what they do with it? Seems you've already formulated an opinion.


Well, one thing can be bad in itself.

Breach of privacy is bad in itself. Thats not the parent's "formulated opinion", it's something well discussed, with extended arguments, that many people agree on.

So it doesn't matter "what they're going to do with it".

The same way your spouse going over and tracking your internet searches and mails is bad, no matter if they don't do anything with it.

(This of course holds for the whole world states that do that shit, not just China).


There is no universal "evil" or "band". Everything is context sensitive.

Is killing evil? In some contexts, yes, in others no.

The issue is a lack of context in affairs on the other side of the world, in a culture and the lives one has no knowledge about. To levy moral supremacy over others without an attempt at context is what starts wars and disagreements.

Take this thought experiment on the importance of understanding context: If i walk into a room and levy my supreme morality by shooting you in the face because i Just saw you shoot a man would be a crime, because perhaps I did not witness the context from 5 minutes earlier of that man shooting another man (which is why you shot him in the face, and ultimately why I shot you). Who's right? Who's wrong?


Most people look at Orwell’s “1984” as a warning; China seems to be using it as a How-to manual.


[flagged]


1. No, China is leading the way

2. Why do about 20% of comments about China's inhumane activities need to drag in an unrelated region. It almost comes across as a deliberate attempt to muddy the issue with an irrational/irrelevant regional/nationalistic divide.


China views this is a matter of NatSec. Right or wrong they view it this way and states spare nothing at this. The extremely bad news is that China has virtually unlimited resources, in money, tech and manpower. And no one can stop them. Not via war, not via UN. Even if they hire a minder for every 2-3 Muslims the Chinese Gov will probably do it. But tech has made their job very easy.

My guess is that they think that by flooding the place with Han Chinese and making their (Muslims) lives miserable, they will break them.


And they probably will, sadly. It just takes time. If you remove their cultural identity through mixing of cultures, erasure of "non-sanctioned" cultures, then over time it will happen.

When displaying your non-Han-ness becomes something that will lead to you being imprisoned or denied jobs/housing/food, gradually all that will remain is Han.


There are definitely other, more humane ways to make the indigenous population join the melting pot. China should really look at how Hawaiians were integrated. aside from the initial war, there wasn’t that much bloodshed.


Eh, just because they throw the broad label "national security" on the project doesn't mean it has limitless value to them.

At the end of the day, the CCP is rather obviously optimizing for maintaining its rule. An economic slowdown caused by multilateral UN sanctions would pose a far greater threat to the CCP rule than the Uighurs ever have.

The problem is that the world generally doesn't pay that much attention to global human rights issues and citizens of developed countries currently care more about the money they're making from China than its human rights (and other) violations anyway.

Agree with your second paragraph though.


Sanctions...who's asking for them? No one. China would take everyone's econ down. USA placed sanctions on Iran, BUT, Saudis agreed to produce more oil for example.

With the amount of money China has and the size of their "enemy" limitless is the right word. Let's not forget that China has built 50 MILLION apartments just to do something. https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-d&q=china+emp... All they have to do is blacklist them: behave like a Muslim and your doors are essentially closed...no jobs, credit etc etc.


Why did that take a data breach? I already assumed they were tracking 300+mm of thier population.


Are you asking why reputable news organizations don't publish assumptions?


Without the paywall: https://outline.com/bMxgSG


[flagged]


Why have you made ~5-6 comments in this thread, and all about some version of whataboutism?


I reject the accusation of "whataboutism". Let's take those in order.

"Why have I made 5~6 comments in the thread?" It's an interesting topic that I've spent over 5 years researching.

"Why are you talking about the United States in a China thread?" I think this comment captures it well: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19185364


> "Why have I made 5~6 comments in the thread?" It's an interesting topic that I've spent over 5 years researching.

By my count, you've made 13 comments in this thread so far, which is about 20% of the current total.

I don't think you've spent "over 5 years" researching surveillance China. It seems like you may have spent that much time researching surveillance in the US (but I have my doubts), and are very intent on derailing the thread into a discussion of that instead of the article content about China.


Well I'm gonna be one of the people downvoting all the whataboutism I see, if you have 13 comments doing it that's 13 downvotes.

Immorality in one region isn't excused by immorality in another. If what you mean to say is "This is absolutely inexcusable in China, and inexcusable in the West too" that's fine, but completely irrelevant to the article at hand, but I don't think that's what you're saying.


It's not about agreeing whether or not something is indeed "inexcusable" in one region or another, but understanding things in their context.

One can't fully comprehend an issue without comparing/contrasting it with other scenarios that may be somewhat comparable.


When is it “whataboutism” and when it is “perspective?”


Article is paywalled.


Not with a Google referrer. Simple way to get it is to search for the FT article title. FT is nice enough to include it on their paywall. Subscribe to the FT to read: "Data leak reveals China is tracking almost 2.6m people in Xinjiang".


can't read an article behind a paypal.

but how is this facial data collection any different than Facebook's?


> but how is this facial data collection any different than Facebook's?

Does Facebook have cameras everywhere that feed facial recognition and location data into a database that correlates it with government-id information?

No, Facebook does not. That is how it is different.


likle anyone walks on a sidewalk in california!

facebook have everyone around you uploading photos. google and amazon have microphones in your house and houses you visit. considering the social settings on both countries it is the same coverage.


>>> but how is this facial data collection any different than Facebook's?

> facebook have everyone around you uploading photos. google and amazon have microphones in your house and houses you visit. considering the social settings on both countries it is the same coverage.

The main differences here aren't technical (such as camera coverage per person), but political. China is installing facial recognition cameras to non-consensually monitor an unwilling minority population in order to subjugate and eventually forcibly assimilate it. Facebook does facial recognition on images voluntarily given to it to further some creepy ad-pushing. Those are very different things.


most people on FB never signed up for it. they have my phone number and social graph because my acquaintances let the app upload their contact list, and same for photos.

also, can you say that facebook, advertising and thinktanks are not political in the US?


So far. Portal anyone?


Americans are afraid of being invaded by Chinese army, while completely omitting the fact that both Chinese police and 3 letter services have few times bigger budgets (literally, MPS has around 3 times bigger budget than regular land forces,) more men, better training (armed police officers don't spend 50% of their time reading Marx, unlike army officers,) and, in some times, better equipment including heavy weaponry (in China, armed police forces, and "men in black" each have few armoured divisions, and are rumoured to have own heli force)

So, in the end, if West is to be afraid of Chinese invasion, they should be afraid of Chinese armed police, not the regular army.


Given the US has nuclear weapons, I doubt they’re afraid of invasion. There can’t really be a conventional war between nuclear powers. Any future conflicts will be proxy wars.


Agreed.

The point of course in having both conventional and nuclear weapons is so that your range of responses is wider than between nothing and a mushroom cloud.


By the social contract theory you give up some freedom to have a better quality of life.

I.e. I prefer to give up my freedom to kill others at will if everyone around me would do the same.




Applications are open for YC Summer 2019

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: