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China’s Supply of Minerals for iPhones and Missiles Could Be a Risky Trade Weapon

Westlake Legal Group 22rareearths-facebookJumbo China’s Supply of Minerals for iPhones and Missiles Could Be a Risky Trade Weapon United States International Relations Rare Earths Politics and Government International Trade and World Market Factories and Manufacturing China

SHANGHAI — President Xi Jinping of China strode this week through a high-ceilinged factory that makes magnets out of rare earths, minerals that are essential to global manufacturing and a sector that his country dominates. His top trade negotiator, Vice Premier Liu He, stood near.

Mr. Xi did not threaten to block supplies of rare earths to the United States. He didn’t have to. The veiled threat, broadcast over state-run news media this week as President Trump ratcheted up his trade war against Beijing, was clear.

China’s command of the rare-earth market could give Beijing a way to strike back at Mr. Trump as he raises tariffs and deprives Chinese companies of the technology they need to survive. A similar move by China nine years ago, against Japan over a territorial dispute, shocked manufacturers around the world, sent prices soaring and revealed Beijing’s control of an essential part of the global supply chain.

This time, however, the impact of any block on rare earths may be far less clear cut. It could undermine China’s reputation as a manufacturing hub. Other trading partners, notably Japan and South Korea, could become collateral damage. And in an odd turnabout, China’s own needs have made it somewhat dependent on ore from the United States.

While China is determined to resist American pressure, limits on rare earths “will affect many other countries,” said Gary Liu, a Shanghai-based economist. “The global supply chain is so complicated.”

It is far from clear that China will harness rare earths as a weapon. On Wednesday, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry advised reporters not to read too much into Mr. Xi’s visit on Monday to the magnet factory in Jiangxi Province. Hours later, Hu Xijin, the editor of Global Times, a tabloid owned by the Chinese Communist Party, said leaders in Beijing were considering the idea.

“I think Chinese government won’t do this immediately,” Mr. Hu wrote on Twitter, “but it’s seriously evaluating the need to do so.”

Rare earths are not actually rare. But refining them from ore is expensive and polluting.

China has been one of the very few countries willing to tolerate the industry. Though rare-earth mines have opened in the United States, in Australia and elsewhere, China dominates refining and transforming them into valuable metals, magnetic powders and other high-value products.

The minerals wind up in everything from iPhones to wind turbines and missiles. They are used to polish camera lenses and to refine crude oil into gasoline, diesel and jet fuel.

The appetite in the United States for products that include rare earths is enormous. But while the country still imports large quantities of cheap rare-earth catalysts for use in oil refineries, American demand for raw rare-earth metals to be used in factories has almost disappeared. Chinese customs data show that the United States bought only 3.8 percent of China’s exports of rare-earth metals last year, far less than Japan, and also less than India, Italy or Spain.

In large part, that is because so much manufacturing has shifted out of the United States. Nearly a decade ago, Beijing began putting heavy pressure on manufacturers of products like electric motor magnets and light-emitting diodes to move factories to China if they wanted reliable access to rare-earth metal supplies. Remaining American industries like automaking and aerospace manufacturing now import entire systems from China, like car starters and aircraft wing flaps.

Beijing could still block exports of Chinese-made motors, magnets and other gear to the United States — and industry experts noted that Mr. Xi’s visit was to a magnet factory, not to a mine.

“The message was, this is a supply chain and we control your supply chain,” said Clint Cox, president of the Anchor House, a rare-earths consulting firm in Evanston, Ill.

The dilemma for Beijing lies in whether to jeopardize its central role in global supply chains by halting exports of crucial components to the West. Trade hawks in the Trump administration have been quietly expressing hope that China will do just that. They see such an interruption as the best way to persuade global companies to shift manufacturing permanently out of China to the United States or to American allies, a long-term goal known as decoupling in trade circles.

A Chinese export embargo would have other drawbacks. For example, American oil refineries depend on lanthanum, which is the cheapest and most easily produced of the 17 rare-earth elements, as a catalyst to refine crude oil. But lanthanum is mined in bulk in Australia and in the United States as well as in China.

Oil companies in the United States keep several months of catalysts in stockpiles, said Dudley Kingsnorth, a professor specializing in rare earths at the Western Australian School of Mines in Perth. The United States could import more gasoline and diesel from refineries elsewhere if needed, although at a greater cost.

Thanks to circuitous global supply chains, really blocking American access to rare-earth products could mean cutting off much of the rest of the world as well. Factories in South Korea and Thailand produce large quantities of lanthanum-based catalysts. Three Japanese companies dominate the business of turning rare earths into magnets. The three — Hitachi, TDK and the Shin-Etsu Group — have built large magnet factories in China but have kept their factories open in Japan as a precaution.

In an odd and little-noticed reversal, China has actually become somewhat dependent on the United States for rare-earth ore. China’s manufacturing sector is now so huge that the country has begun importing semi-processed rare-earth ore from a mine in Mountain Pass, in the California desert near the Nevada border.

The mine went bankrupt in 2015 because it could not compete with illegal mines in China that have few environmental controls and low costs.

But its new owners have shipped part of its stockpiles and all of its current ore production to China for processing. In recent months, the mine has accounted for roughly one-tenth of the world’s rare-earth mining.

A group of investors led by JHL Capital Group, a Chicago hedge fund, bought the mine out of bankruptcy in July 2017. JHL Capital owns almost 65 percent of the mine, and another American investment group, QVT Financial of New York, owns a little over 25 percent.

Shenghe Resources Holding Company of China owns the remaining shares, but those shares do not carry voting rights, said James H. Litinsky, the founder and controlling shareholder of JHL. Shenghe provides technical and sales advice, but the mine’s 200 employees are Americans, he said.

Shenghe’s majority shareholder is an institute controlled by China’s Ministry of Land and Resources. Shenghe has publicly confirmed its stake in the mine.

Mining the rare earths is only part of the equation. Mr. Litinsky said that he planned to restart the Mountain Pass mine’s mothballed chemical separation facilities next year to produce rare-earth oxides, so that semiprocessed ore would no longer have to be shipped to China. That plan is based partly on his assessment that trade frictions will persist and that the United States will seek self-sufficiency.

“This is the very beginning of a multi-decade transformation of the global economy,” he said. “The global economy is going to bifurcate into the U.S. bloc and the China bloc.”

When it comes to rare earths, an American bloc would be hard pressed to catch up, despite the reopening of Mountain Pass. China so completely dominates one key stage of the manufacturing process — converting the oxides to metals — and has so much low-cost overcapacity that companies elsewhere are leery of investing in their own facilities.

“We’re a long way off,” said Mr. Cox of Anchor House. “We’re nowhere.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

How China Uses High-Tech Surveillance to Subdue Minorities

KASHGAR, China — A God’s-eye view of Kashgar, an ancient city in western China, flashed onto a wall-size screen, with colorful icons marking police stations, checkpoints and the locations of recent security incidents. At the click of a mouse, a technician explained, the police can pull up live video from any surveillance camera or take a closer look at anyone passing through one of the thousands of checkpoints in the city.

To demonstrate, she showed how the system could retrieve the photo, home address and official identification number of a woman who had been stopped at a checkpoint on a major highway. The system sifted through billions of records, then displayed details of her education, family ties, links to an earlier case and recent visits to a hotel and an internet cafe.

The simulation, presented at an industry fair in China, offered a rare look at a system that now peers into nearly every corner of Xinjiang, the troubled region where Kashgar is located.

This is the vision of high-tech surveillance — precise, all-seeing, infallible — that China’s leaders are investing billions of dollars in every year, making Xinjiang an incubator for increasingly intrusive policing systems that could spread across the country and beyond.

It is also a vision that some of President Trump’s aides have begun citing in a push for tougher action against Chinese companies in the intensifying trade war. Beyond concerns about market barriers, theft and national security, they argue that China is using technology to strengthen authoritarianism at home and abroad — and that the United States must stop it.

Westlake Legal Group 2019-04-04-xinjiang-tap-promo-1554362076029-articleLarge-v2 How China Uses High-Tech Surveillance to Subdue Minorities Xinjiang (China) Uighurs (Chinese Ethnic Group) Surveillance of Citizens by Government Privacy Politics and Government Ministry of Public Security of the People's Republic of China Kashgar (China) Communist Party of China China

How China Turned a City Into a Prison

Children are interrogated. Neighbors become informants. Mosques are monitored. Cameras are everywhere.

Developed and sold by the China Electronics Technology Corporation, a state-run defense manufacturer, the system in Kashgar is on the cutting edge of what has become a flourishing new market for technology that the government can use to monitor and subdue millions of Uighurs and members of other Muslim ethnic groups in Xinjiang.

Westlake Legal Group 0523-for-webXINJIANG-SURVEILLANCEmap-300 How China Uses High-Tech Surveillance to Subdue Minorities Xinjiang (China) Uighurs (Chinese Ethnic Group) Surveillance of Citizens by Government Privacy Politics and Government Ministry of Public Security of the People's Republic of China Kashgar (China) Communist Party of China China

KAZAKHSTAN

By The New York Times

Treating a city like a battlefield, the platform was designed to “apply the ideas of military cyber systems to civilian public security,” Wang Pengda, a C.E.T.C. engineer, said in an official blog post. “Looking back, it truly was an idea ahead of its time.”

The system taps into networks of neighborhood informants; tracks individuals and analyzes their behavior; tries to anticipate potential crime, protest or violence; and then recommends which security forces to deploy, the company said.

On the screen during the demonstration was a slogan: “If someone exists, there will be traces, and if there are connections, there will be information.”

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_154765578_a3cdefa0-c50f-441b-a182-a75cdd4aa1e1-articleLarge How China Uses High-Tech Surveillance to Subdue Minorities Xinjiang (China) Uighurs (Chinese Ethnic Group) Surveillance of Citizens by Government Privacy Politics and Government Ministry of Public Security of the People's Republic of China Kashgar (China) Communist Party of China China

Pictures from presentations by the China Electronics Technology Corporation at recent industry shows.CreditPaul Mozur/The New York Times

A New York Times investigation drawing on government and company records as well as interviews with industry insiders found that China is in effect hard-wiring Xinjiang for segregated surveillance, using an army of security personnel to compel ethnic minorities to submit to monitoring and data collection while generally ignoring the majority Han Chinese, who make up 36 percent of Xinjiang’s population.

It is a virtual cage that complements the indoctrination camps in Xinjiang where the authorities have detained a million or more Uighurs and other Muslims in a push to transform them into secular citizens who will never challenge the ruling Communist Party. The program helps identify people to be sent to the camps or investigated, and keeps tabs on them when they are released.

The Trump administration is considering whether to blacklist one of the Chinese companies at the center of the Xinjiang effort, Hikvision, and bar it from buying American technology. Hikvision is a major manufacturer of video surveillance equipment, with customers around the world and across Xinjiang, where its cameras have been installed at mosques and detention camps. C.E.T.C. owns about 42 percent of the company through subsidiaries.

“Xinjiang is maybe a kind of more extreme, more intrusive example of China’s mass surveillance systems,” said Maya Wang, a China researcher for Human Rights Watch who has studied the technology in the region. “These systems are designed for a very explicit purpose — to target Muslims.”

Shoppers lined up for identification checks outside the Kashgar Bazaar last fall.CreditPaul Mozur/The New York Times

In the city of Kashgar, with a population of 720,000 — about 85 percent of them Uighur — the C.E.T.C. platform draws on databases with 68 billion records, including those on people’s movements and activities, according to the demonstration viewed by a Times reporter at the industry fair, held in the eastern city of Wuzhen in late 2017.

By comparison, the F.B.I.’s national instant criminal background check system contained about 19 million records at the end of 2018.

The police in Xinjiang use a mobile app, made by C.E.T.C. for smartphones running the Android operating system, to enter information into the databases.

Human Rights Watch, which obtained and analyzed the app, said it helped the authorities spot behavior that they consider suspicious, including extended travel abroad or the use of an “unusual” amount of electricity.

The app, which the Times examined, also allows police officers to flag people they believe have stopped using a smartphone, have begun avoiding the use of the front door in coming and going from home, or have refueled someone else’s car.

The police use the app at checkpoints that serve as virtual “fences” across Xinjiang. If someone is tagged as a potential threat, the system can be set to trigger an alarm every time he or she tries to leave the neighborhood or enters a public place, Human Rights Watch said.

“The government’s arbitrary power is reflected, or coded, in the app,” Ms. Wang said, adding that the system “is programmed to consider vague, broad categories of behaviors, many of them perfectly legal, as indicators of suspiciousness.”

Intelligence agencies in many countries use sets of behavior to single out individuals for greater scrutiny. But China has taken that approach to an extreme, treating the Muslim population in Xinjiang as suspect from the start and defining suspicious behavior in sweeping terms, including peaceful religious activities such as making a donation to a mosque.

The Chinese government has defended the surveillance program, saying it has improved security in the region, and says the indoctrination camps in Xinjiang are job training centers. Hikvision has denied “any inappropriate actions in Xinjiang,” and C.E.T.C. declined to comment when reached by phone.

C.E.T.C. traces its roots to the military research labs that helped build China’s first nuclear bomb, satellite and guided missile. Established as a state defense manufacturer in 2002, it soon expanded into civilian security matters, working with Microsoft, for instance, to create a version of Windows that meets the government’s internal security requirements.

In recent years, it turned to Xinjiang.

The Communist Party, which took control of the region in 1949, has long been wary of the Uighurs, whose Turkic culture and Muslim faith have inspired demands for self-rule, and sometimes attacks on Chinese targets. State investment in surveillance took off a decade ago after anti-Chinese rioting in the regional capital, Urumqi, killed nearly 200 people.

The real bonanza of security contracts came after Xi Jinping took the helm of the party in late 2012. Spending on internal security in Xinjiang totaled nearly $8.4 billion in 2017, six times as much as in 2012, including funds for surveillance, personnel and the indoctrination camps.

Hikvision has received contracts in Xinjiang worth at least $290 million for its cameras and facial recognition systems. Another company tapping into Xinjiang’s security gold rush is Huawei, the Chinese tech giant that the United States has described as a security threat. It signed an agreement last year with the region’s police department to help officers analyze data.

A checkpoint in Hotan last year.CreditAndy Wong/Associated Press

The multilayered program to harvest information from Uighurs and other Muslims begins on the edges of towns and cities across Xinjiang in buildings that look like toll plazas.

Instead of coins, they collect personal information.

On a recent visit to one checkpoint in Kashgar, a line of passengers and drivers, nearly all Uighur, got out of their vehicles, trudged through automated gates made by C.E.T.C. and swiped their identity cards.

“Head up,” the machines chimed as they photographed the motorists and armed guards looked on.

There are smaller checkpoints at banks, parks, schools, gas stations and mosques, all recording information from identity cards in the mass surveillance database.

Identification cards are also needed to buy knives, gasoline, phones, computers and even sugar. The purchases are entered into a police database used to flag suspicious behavior or individuals, according to a 2017 dissertation by a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Sciences that features screenshots of the system in Kashgar.

Not everyone has to endure the inconvenience. At many checkpoints, privileged groups — Han Chinese, Uighur officials with passes, and foreign visitors — are waved through “green channels.” In this way, the authorities have created separate yet overlapping worlds on the same streets — and in the online police databases — one for Muslim minorities, the other for Han Chinese.

“The goal here is instilling fear — fear that their surveillance technology can see into every corner of your life,” said Wang Lixiong, a Chinese author who has written about Xinjiang as well as China’s surveillance state. “The amount of people and equipment used for security is part of the deterrent effect.”

A database stored online by SenseNets, a Chinese surveillance company, and examined by the Times suggests the scale of surveillance in Xinjiang: It contained facial recognition records and ID scans for about 2.5 million people, mostly in Urumqi, a city with a population of about 3.5 million.

“This can be pulled off by anyone, and that’s the part that worries me,” said Victor Gevers, a Dutch security researcher and co-founder of GDI Foundation, a nonprofit that promotes internet security.

According to Mr. Gevers, who discovered the unsecured database, the online records indicate that a network of about 10,000 checkpoints in Urumqi made more than six million identifications in 24 hours.

The authorities in Xinjiang also sometimes force residents to install an app known as “Clean Net Guard” on their phones to monitor for content that the government deems suspicious.

Kashgar and other areas of Xinjiang have in recent years systematically collected DNA and other biological data from residents too, especially Muslims. Officials now collect blood, fingerprints, voice recordings, head portraits from multiple angles, and scans of irises, which can provide a unique identifier like fingerprints.

These databases are not yet completely integrated, and despite the futuristic gloss of the Xinjiang surveillance state, the authorities rely on hundreds of thousands of police officers, officials and neighborhood monitors to gather and enter data.

“We risk understating the extent to which this high-tech police state continues to require a lot of manpower,” said Adrian Zenz, an independent researcher who has studied security spending in Xinjiang. “It is the combination of manpower and technology that makes the 21st-century police state so powerful.”

Security gates at the entrance to a Kashgar mosque in 2016.CreditGilles Sabrié for The New York Times

Xinjiang’s security and surveillance systems are already attracting admirers from the rest of China. Delegations of police officers from other provinces and cities have visited Kashgar and other cities to admire — and consider adopting — the measures.

They often visit police command centers where rows of officers peer at computers, scanning surveillance video feeds and information on residents on the C.E.T.C. platform.

“The digitalization of police work has achieved leap-like growth in Xinjiang,” Zhang Ping, a counterterrorism officer from Jiujiang, a city in southeastern China, said during a visit to Xinjiang last year, according to an official report on the website of the city’s police bureau.

Xinjiang’s high-tech policing, he added, was “something we should vigorously study.”

Zhejiang and Guangdong, two wealthy provinces on China’s southeastern coast, have been testing the C.E.T.C. surveillance system used in Xinjiang, “laying a robust foundation for a nationwide rollout,” the company said last year.

C.E.T.C. has also signed an agreement with the police in the southern city of Shenzhen to provide an advanced “command center information system” similar to the one in Xinjiang.

The technology has some way to go. Dust and bad lighting can hobble facial recognition on security cameras, which struggle to track large numbers of people simultaneously. Even the best systems can be accurate in less than 20 percent of cases, according to one study published by a journal linked to the Ministry of Public Security.

A technician who until recently installed and maintained computers for the authorities in Xinjiang said police surveillance centers relied on hundreds of workers to monitor cameras, an expensive and inefficient undertaking.

And outside urban centers, police officers often do not have the skills to operate the sophisticated systems, said the technician, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, fearing repercussions for speaking to a journalist.

The spending spree on security in Xinjiang has left local governments across the region with staggering bills, raising questions about how the authorities can keep the systems running.

In Kashgar, for example, the county of Yengisar warned this year of a “huge shortfall” from spending on security and said that it had accumulated 1 billion renminbi, or about $150 million, in previously undeclared “invisible debt.”

“The pressure from ensuring basic spending for additional staff and to maintain stability is extraordinary,” it said.

Still, the region’s leaders told officials this year that they must not wind back spending.

“Preserving stability is a hard-and-fast task that takes priority over everything else,” the leadership said in the region’s annual budget report. “Use every possible means to find funds so that the high-pressure offensive does not let up.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

How China Uses High-Tech Surveillance to Subdue Minorities

KASHGAR, China — A God’s-eye view of Kashgar, an ancient city in western China, flashed onto a wall-size screen, with colorful icons marking police stations, checkpoints and the locations of recent security incidents. At the click of a mouse, a technician explained, the police can pull up live video from any surveillance camera or take a closer look at anyone passing through one of the thousands of checkpoints in the city.

To demonstrate, she showed how the system could retrieve the photo, home address and official identification number of a woman who had been stopped at a checkpoint on a major highway. The system sifted through billions of records, then displayed details of her education, family ties, links to an earlier case and recent visits to a hotel and an internet cafe.

The simulation, presented at an industry fair in China, offered a rare look at a system that now peers into nearly every corner of Xinjiang, the troubled region where Kashgar is located.

This is the vision of high-tech surveillance — precise, all-seeing, infallible — that China’s leaders are investing billions of dollars in every year, making Xinjiang an incubator for increasingly intrusive policing systems that could spread across the country and beyond.

It is also a vision that some of President Trump’s aides have begun citing in a push for tougher action against Chinese companies in the intensifying trade war. Beyond concerns about market barriers, theft and national security, they argue that China is using technology to strengthen authoritarianism at home and abroad — and that the United States must stop it.

Westlake Legal Group 2019-04-04-xinjiang-tap-promo-1554362076029-articleLarge-v2 How China Uses High-Tech Surveillance to Subdue Minorities Xinjiang (China) Uighurs (Chinese Ethnic Group) Surveillance of Citizens by Government Privacy Politics and Government Ministry of Public Security of the People's Republic of China Kashgar (China) Communist Party of China China

How China Turned a City Into a Prison

Children are interrogated. Neighbors become informants. Mosques are monitored. Cameras are everywhere.

Developed and sold by the China Electronics Technology Corporation, a state-run defense manufacturer, the system in Kashgar is on the cutting edge of what has become a flourishing new market for technology that the government can use to monitor and subdue millions of Uighurs and members of other Muslim ethnic groups in Xinjiang.

Westlake Legal Group 0523-for-webXINJIANG-SURVEILLANCEmap-300 How China Uses High-Tech Surveillance to Subdue Minorities Xinjiang (China) Uighurs (Chinese Ethnic Group) Surveillance of Citizens by Government Privacy Politics and Government Ministry of Public Security of the People's Republic of China Kashgar (China) Communist Party of China China

KAZAKHSTAN

By The New York Times

Treating a city like a battlefield, the platform was designed to “apply the ideas of military cyber systems to civilian public security,” Wang Pengda, a C.E.T.C. engineer, said in an official blog post. “Looking back, it truly was an idea ahead of its time.”

The system taps into networks of neighborhood informants; tracks individuals and analyzes their behavior; tries to anticipate potential crime, protest or violence; and then recommends which security forces to deploy, the company said.

On the screen during the demonstration was a slogan: “If someone exists, there will be traces, and if there are connections, there will be information.”

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_154765578_a3cdefa0-c50f-441b-a182-a75cdd4aa1e1-articleLarge How China Uses High-Tech Surveillance to Subdue Minorities Xinjiang (China) Uighurs (Chinese Ethnic Group) Surveillance of Citizens by Government Privacy Politics and Government Ministry of Public Security of the People's Republic of China Kashgar (China) Communist Party of China China

Pictures from presentations by the China Electronics Technology Corporation at recent industry shows.CreditPaul Mozur/The New York Times

A New York Times investigation drawing on government and company records as well as interviews with industry insiders found that China is in effect hard-wiring Xinjiang for segregated surveillance, using an army of security personnel to compel ethnic minorities to submit to monitoring and data collection while generally ignoring the majority Han Chinese, who make up 36 percent of Xinjiang’s population.

It is a virtual cage that complements the indoctrination camps in Xinjiang where the authorities have detained a million or more Uighurs and other Muslims in a push to transform them into secular citizens who will never challenge the ruling Communist Party. The program helps identify people to be sent to the camps or investigated, and keeps tabs on them when they are released.

The Trump administration is considering whether to blacklist one of the Chinese companies at the center of the Xinjiang effort, Hikvision, and bar it from buying American technology. Hikvision is a major manufacturer of video surveillance equipment, with customers around the world and across Xinjiang, where its cameras have been installed at mosques and detention camps. C.E.T.C. owns about 42 percent of the company through subsidiaries.

“Xinjiang is maybe a kind of more extreme, more intrusive example of China’s mass surveillance systems,” said Maya Wang, a China researcher for Human Rights Watch who has studied the technology in the region. “These systems are designed for a very explicit purpose — to target Muslims.”

Shoppers lined up for identification checks outside the Kashgar Bazaar last fall.CreditPaul Mozur/The New York Times

In the city of Kashgar, with a population of 720,000 — about 85 percent of them Uighur — the C.E.T.C. platform draws on databases with 68 billion records, including those on people’s movements and activities, according to the demonstration viewed by a Times reporter at the industry fair, held in the eastern city of Wuzhen in late 2017.

By comparison, the F.B.I.’s national instant criminal background check system contained about 19 million records at the end of 2018.

The police in Xinjiang use a mobile app, made by C.E.T.C. for smartphones running the Android operating system, to enter information into the databases.

Human Rights Watch, which obtained and analyzed the app, said it helped the authorities spot behavior that they consider suspicious, including extended travel abroad or the use of an “unusual” amount of electricity.

The app, which the Times examined, also allows police officers to flag people they believe have stopped using a smartphone, have begun avoiding the use of the front door in coming and going from home, or have refueled someone else’s car.

The police use the app at checkpoints that serve as virtual “fences” across Xinjiang. If someone is tagged as a potential threat, the system can be set to trigger an alarm every time he or she tries to leave the neighborhood or enters a public place, Human Rights Watch said.

“The government’s arbitrary power is reflected, or coded, in the app,” Ms. Wang said, adding that the system “is programmed to consider vague, broad categories of behaviors, many of them perfectly legal, as indicators of suspiciousness.”

Intelligence agencies in many countries use sets of behavior to single out individuals for greater scrutiny. But China has taken that approach to an extreme, treating the Muslim population in Xinjiang as suspect from the start and defining suspicious behavior in sweeping terms, including peaceful religious activities such as making a donation to a mosque.

The Chinese government has defended the surveillance program, saying it has improved security in the region, and says the indoctrination camps in Xinjiang are job training centers. Hikvision has denied “any inappropriate actions in Xinjiang,” and C.E.T.C. declined to comment when reached by phone.

C.E.T.C. traces its roots to the military research labs that helped build China’s first nuclear bomb, satellite and guided missile. Established as a state defense manufacturer in 2002, it soon expanded into civilian security matters, working with Microsoft, for instance, to create a version of Windows that meets the government’s internal security requirements.

In recent years, it turned to Xinjiang.

The Communist Party, which took control of the region in 1949, has long been wary of the Uighurs, whose Turkic culture and Muslim faith have inspired demands for self-rule, and sometimes attacks on Chinese targets. State investment in surveillance took off a decade ago after anti-Chinese rioting in the regional capital, Urumqi, killed nearly 200 people.

The real bonanza of security contracts came after Xi Jinping took the helm of the party in late 2012. Spending on internal security in Xinjiang totaled nearly $8.4 billion in 2017, six times as much as in 2012, including funds for surveillance, personnel and the indoctrination camps.

Hikvision has received contracts in Xinjiang worth at least $290 million for its cameras and facial recognition systems. Another company tapping into Xinjiang’s security gold rush is Huawei, the Chinese tech giant that the United States has described as a security threat. It signed an agreement last year with the region’s police department to help officers analyze data.

A checkpoint in Hotan last year.CreditAndy Wong/Associated Press

The multilayered program to harvest information from Uighurs and other Muslims begins on the edges of towns and cities across Xinjiang in buildings that look like toll plazas.

Instead of coins, they collect personal information.

On a recent visit to one checkpoint in Kashgar, a line of passengers and drivers, nearly all Uighur, got out of their vehicles, trudged through automated gates made by C.E.T.C. and swiped their identity cards.

“Head up,” the machines chimed as they photographed the motorists and armed guards looked on.

There are smaller checkpoints at banks, parks, schools, gas stations and mosques, all recording information from identity cards in the mass surveillance database.

Identification cards are also needed to buy knives, gasoline, phones, computers and even sugar. The purchases are entered into a police database used to flag suspicious behavior or individuals, according to a 2017 dissertation by a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Sciences that features screenshots of the system in Kashgar.

Not everyone has to endure the inconvenience. At many checkpoints, privileged groups — Han Chinese, Uighur officials with passes, and foreign visitors — are waved through “green channels.” In this way, the authorities have created separate yet overlapping worlds on the same streets — and in the online police databases — one for Muslim minorities, the other for Han Chinese.

“The goal here is instilling fear — fear that their surveillance technology can see into every corner of your life,” said Wang Lixiong, a Chinese author who has written about Xinjiang as well as China’s surveillance state. “The amount of people and equipment used for security is part of the deterrent effect.”

A database stored online by SenseNets, a Chinese surveillance company, and examined by the Times suggests the scale of surveillance in Xinjiang: It contained facial recognition records and ID scans for about 2.5 million people, mostly in Urumqi, a city with a population of about 3.5 million.

“This can be pulled off by anyone, and that’s the part that worries me,” said Victor Gevers, a Dutch security researcher and co-founder of GDI Foundation, a nonprofit that promotes internet security.

According to Mr. Gevers, who discovered the unsecured database, the online records indicate that a network of about 10,000 checkpoints in Urumqi made more than six million identifications in 24 hours.

The authorities in Xinjiang also sometimes force residents to install an app known as “Clean Net Guard” on their phones to monitor for content that the government deems suspicious.

Kashgar and other areas of Xinjiang have in recent years systematically collected DNA and other biological data from residents too, especially Muslims. Officials now collect blood, fingerprints, voice recordings, head portraits from multiple angles, and scans of irises, which can provide a unique identifier like fingerprints.

These databases are not yet completely integrated, and despite the futuristic gloss of the Xinjiang surveillance state, the authorities rely on hundreds of thousands of police officers, officials and neighborhood monitors to gather and enter data.

“We risk understating the extent to which this high-tech police state continues to require a lot of manpower,” said Adrian Zenz, an independent researcher who has studied security spending in Xinjiang. “It is the combination of manpower and technology that makes the 21st-century police state so powerful.”

Security gates at the entrance to a Kashgar mosque in 2016.CreditGilles Sabrié for The New York Times

Xinjiang’s security and surveillance systems are already attracting admirers from the rest of China. Delegations of police officers from other provinces and cities have visited Kashgar and other cities to admire — and consider adopting — the measures.

They often visit police command centers where rows of officers peer at computers, scanning surveillance video feeds and information on residents on the C.E.T.C. platform.

“The digitalization of police work has achieved leap-like growth in Xinjiang,” Zhang Ping, a counterterrorism officer from Jiujiang, a city in southeastern China, said during a visit to Xinjiang last year, according to an official report on the website of the city’s police bureau.

Xinjiang’s high-tech policing, he added, was “something we should vigorously study.”

Zhejiang and Guangdong, two wealthy provinces on China’s southeastern coast, have been testing the C.E.T.C. surveillance system used in Xinjiang, “laying a robust foundation for a nationwide rollout,” the company said last year.

C.E.T.C. has also signed an agreement with the police in the southern city of Shenzhen to provide an advanced “command center information system” similar to the one in Xinjiang.

The technology has some way to go. Dust and bad lighting can hobble facial recognition on security cameras, which struggle to track large numbers of people simultaneously. Even the best systems can be accurate in less than 20 percent of cases, according to one study published by a journal linked to the Ministry of Public Security.

A technician who until recently installed and maintained computers for the authorities in Xinjiang said police surveillance centers relied on hundreds of workers to monitor cameras, an expensive and inefficient undertaking.

And outside urban centers, police officers often do not have the skills to operate the sophisticated systems, said the technician, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, fearing repercussions for speaking to a journalist.

The spending spree on security in Xinjiang has left local governments across the region with staggering bills, raising questions about how the authorities can keep the systems running.

In Kashgar, for example, the county of Yengisar warned this year of a “huge shortfall” from spending on security and said that it had accumulated 1 billion renminbi, or about $150 million, in previously undeclared “invisible debt.”

“The pressure from ensuring basic spending for additional staff and to maintain stability is extraordinary,” it said.

Still, the region’s leaders told officials this year that they must not wind back spending.

“Preserving stability is a hard-and-fast task that takes priority over everything else,” the leadership said in the region’s annual budget report. “Use every possible means to find funds so that the high-pressure offensive does not let up.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

China Faces New ‘Long March’ as Trade War Intensifies, Xi Jinping Says

BEIJING — President Xi Jinping of China has called for the Chinese people to begin a modern “long march,” invoking a time of hardship from the country’s history as it braces for a protracted trade war with the United States.

Mr. Xi’s call, made on Monday, referred to the Long March, a grueling 4,000-mile, one-year journey undertaken by Communist Party forces in 1934 as they fled the Nationalist army under Chiang Kai-shek. From there, they regrouped and eventually took control of China in 1949, making the Long March one of the party’s foundational legends.

The comments appear intended to stir the spirit of the Chinese people as the Trump administration continues to press China on trade. But they also seem to acknowledge that the Chinese public could face difficult times ahead. The tariffs come as Beijing tries to lift the economy out of a slowdown, and as a variety of unrelated factors raise the prices of basic food items like pork and fruit for the average Chinese shopper.

Speaking at the site of the start of the Long March in Jiangxi Province, Mr. Xi told a crowd of cheering locals that “now there is a new long march, and we should make a new start.”

He did not mention the trade war directly, and Mr. Xi has used the term “the new Long March” in speeches before to exhort officials, military officials or ordinary citizens to follow his policies. But the visit, broadcast on state-run television on Tuesday, came as tensions flare between the world’s two biggest economies. Among the officials with Mr. Xi was Liu He, his chief economic adviser and top trade negotiator.

On Wednesday, Mr. Xi told another audience in Jiangxi that the country “must be conscious of the long-term and complex nature of various unfavorable factors at home and abroad, and properly prepare for the various difficult situations.”

The trade war shows little sign of letting up. In the latest move, the Trump administration is considering placing a Chinese company called Hikvision on a list that would limit its ability to procure American technology like chips and software to meet its needs. The company, which provides equipment for China’s growing surveillance state, said in a statement on Wednesday that it “has never in the past done any business that requires us to violate human rights.”

At a daily news briefing on Wednesday, Lu Kang, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said, “China opposes the U.S. practice of abusing state power and arbitrarily discrediting and suppressing foreign enterprises, including Chinese enterprises.”

In one of the first gestures hinting at a potential opening salvo, Mr. Xi on Monday visited a rare earths mine in the city of Ganzhou, which some observers saw as an attempt to remind Mr. Trump of the leverage that China has when it comes to certain resources. Rare earths are found in many of the electronics that the world uses every day, and China is the largest source. China has used its control of rare earths to exert pressure before, most notably in 2010 when it halted all exports to Japan for two months over a territorial dispute.

Mr. Xi later called on the industry to continue to “intensify efforts” to develop rare earths, calling them a “strategic resource.” At a media briefing on Wednesday, officials told reporters not to read too much into the visit, adding that it was a routine visit.

The Chinese state media has ratcheted up nationalistic rhetoric in the past few days, comparing the trade war to the Korean War, during which Chinese troops were in direct combat with American forces. Over the weekend, China’s national movie channel, CCTV-6, ran back-to-back films about the Korean War, saying that the footage was “echoing present times.”

The central point of those films is that “there’s no equal negotiation without fighting,” Hu Xijin, the editor of Global Times, a newspaper owned by the Communist Party, wrote on Twitter over the weekend.

ImageWestlake Legal Group 22china-xi2-articleLarge China Faces New ‘Long March’ as Trade War Intensifies, Xi Jinping Says Xi Jinping Trump, Donald J Politics and Government Jiangxi (China) International Trade and World Market China

Mr. Xi, second from left, visiting a rare earths mine in the city of Ganzhou on Monday. China is the largest source of the minerals, which are used in electronic devices.CreditXinhua, via Getty Images

China in the past has successfully rallied its people to target businesses owned by Japanese and South Korean companies during disputes with those countries. With the trade war with the United States, China has to move more carefully. American products are often made in Chinese factories, and China needs its consumers to keep spending as it tries to turn around its growth slump.

Chinese consumers also have more immediate concerns. Even as the economic slowdown appeared to be stabilizing, certain living costs have risen steeply.

A vicious African swine fever that swept across China has led to more than a million pigs being culled, driving up the price of pork. A steep increase in the price of vegetables and fruit has led many people to complain online that they no longer have “fruit freedom” — the ability to buy as much fruit as they like.

“Everyone has personally felt a rise in prices,” said Zhang Lifan, a historian and former businessman.

“Normal people will have to bear the consequences of the Chinese trade war. There is no way to fight this, and the new Long March is not sustainable,” Mr. Zhang said.

For people like Xu Jifeng, who works for an American telecommunications company in Beijing, the back and forth between China and the United States has little bearing on his day-to-day life. He said he would most likely choose a Huawei phone over an Apple phone the next time he needs to upgrade. But he was more interested in talking about the rising cost of produce.

Mr. Xu, 44, said the price of a watermelon has gone up by more than a dollar.

“I think this reflects the bad overall state of the economy,” Mr. Xu said. “The government says it’s just temporary and that they will keep it under control.”

“But coming at the same time as these China-U.S. trade frictions, I think fruit prices must be showing the effects.”

In April, the price of pork jumped 14 percent compared with a year earlier, while the broader food consumer price inflation rose 6.1 percent, according to government statistics. By the end of last week, the average price of a basket of fruit had hit a nearly five-year high of $1.10 a kilogram, according to official statistics.

So many people online were talking about the rising costs of fruit that #fruitfreedom became a top trending topic on Weibo, China’s most popular social media site.

The National Bureau of Statistics blamed the weather, and said that the price increase was short-term. “The price increase of fresh fruits will not continue to be high,” a spokeswoman for the bureau said.

People have responded online by posting photographs of fruit with commentary about how much less they can afford. One woman complained that her usual haul of fruit from the supermarket was costing her nearly as much as she would pay for a new lipstick.

One person wrote on Weibo, “Now the price of fruit is really more expensive than meat. From now on, when I eat apples, I don’t dare to peel the skin, not even spit out the seeds.”

Another asked “Where is fruit freedom? All I can achieve is cold water freedom.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Trump Administration Could Blacklist China’s Hikvision, a Surveillance Firm

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration is considering limits to a Chinese video surveillance giant’s ability to buy American technology, people familiar with the matter said, the latest attempt to counter Beijing’s global economic ambitions.

The move would effectively place the company, Hikvision, on a United States blacklist. It also would mark the first time the Trump administration punished a Chinese company for its role in the surveillance and mass detention of Uighurs, a mostly Muslim ethnic minority.

The move is also likely to inflame the tensions that have escalated in President Trump’s renewed trade war with Chinese leaders. The president, in the span of two weeks, has raised tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, threatened to tax all imports and taken steps to cripple the Chinese telecom equipment giant Huawei. China has promised to retaliate against American industries.

Hikvision is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of video surveillance products and is central to China’s ambitions to be the top global exporter of surveillance systems. The Commerce Department may require that American companies obtain government approval to supply components to Hikvision, limiting the company’s access to technology that helps power its equipment.

Administration officials could make a final decision in the coming weeks.

The combination of more traditional surveillance equipment with new technologies, like artificial intelligence, speech monitoring and genetic testing, is helping make monitoring networks increasingly effective — and intrusive. Hikvision says its products enable their clients to track people around the country by their facial features, body characteristics or gait, or to monitor activity considered unusual by officials, such as people suddenly running or crowds gathering.

The potential crackdown stems from the Trump administration’s belief that China poses an economic, technological and geopolitical threat that cannot be left unchecked. The United States has targeted Chinese technology companies like Huawei that it believes could pose a national security threat given deep ties between the Chinese government and industry and laws that could require Chinese firms to hand over information if asked.

Adding to those concerns are the global human rights implications of China’s extensive surveillance industry, which it increasingly uses to keep tabs on its own citizens. The Chinese have used surveillance technology, including facial recognition systems and closed-circuit television cameras, to target the Turkic-speaking Uighurs, who have accused the Chinese government of discriminating against their culture and religion.

China has constructed what amounts to a police state in the country’s northwest region of Xinjiang, which Uighurs consider their homeland. That includes extensive surveillance powered by companies like Hikvision and barbed wire-ringed internment compounds that American officials estimate hold 800,000 to as many as three million Muslims.

[How China turned a city into a prison.]

China has begun exporting this technology to nations that seek closer surveillance of their citizens, including Ecuador, Zimbabwe, Uzbekistan, Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates.

“Hikvision takes these concerns very seriously and has engaged with the U.S. government regarding all of this since last October,” a Hikvision spokesman said in an emailed statement. “In light of them, the company has already retained human rights expert and former U.S. ambassador Pierre-Richard Prosper to advise the company regarding human rights compliance. Separately, Hikvision takes cybersecurity very seriously as a company and follows all laws and regulations in the markets we operate.”

Since last year, administration officials have debated what to do about China’s attempts to clamp down on the cultural and religious practices of the Uighurs. But they have refrained from taking action, in part because some American officials worried a move would derail attempts to win a trade deal with China.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in an interview with Fox News on May 2 that the administration was concerned “that the Chinese are working to put their systems in networks all across the world so they can steal your information and my information.” He mentioned the Muslim internment camps, adding, “This is stuff that is reminiscent of the 1930s that present a real challenge to the United States, and this administration is prepared to take this on.”

Since trade talks with Beijing nearly crumbled early this month, the administration has quickly ramped up economic pressure on China. It is moving ahead with plans to tax an additional $300 billion in products, and announced a sweeping executive order cutting off Huawei from purchasing the American software and semiconductors it needs to make its products. While American companies can try to obtain a license to continue doing business with Huawei, firms like Google are making plans to curtail the products and services that they supply.

The administration is also attempting to prosecute a top Huawei executive, Meng Wanzhou, who faces criminal charges in the United States and is under house arrest in Canada, where she awaits a court decision on extradition.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_155163954_779a73bc-2992-48ea-8a6c-ec53dc895ecc-articleLarge Trump Administration Could Blacklist China’s Hikvision, a Surveillance Firm United States Politics and Government United States International Relations Uighurs (Chinese Ethnic Group) Surveillance of Citizens by Government Hikvision Embargoes and Sanctions Economic Conditions and Trends Defense and Military Forces China 5G (Wireless Communications)

The Trump administration is considering adding Hikvision to an “entity list” that could limit its ability to buy American technology.CreditT.J. Kirkpatrick for The New York Times

The measure against Hikvision would operate similarly to Huawei’s license requirement. The Commerce Department would place it on an “entity list,” which requires designated foreign companies and American companies to get United States government approval before they do business with one another.

“Taking this step would be a tangible signal to both U.S. and foreign companies that the U.S. government is looking carefully at what is happening in Xinjiang and is willing to take action in response,” said Jessica Batke, a former State Department official who has done research in Xinjiang and testified before Congress on the issue. “At the same time, however, the ongoing trade war perhaps undercuts the perception that this is coming from a place of purely human rights concerns.”

The Commerce Department and the White House declined to comment.

On Wednesday, the China’s foreign ministry urged countries to treat Chinese companies fairly.

“We have repeatedly stated that China opposes the United States’s practice of abusing state power and arbitrarily discrediting and suppressing foreign enterprises, including Chinese enterprises,” Lu Kang, a ministry spokesman, said at a regular briefing in Beijing in a response to a question about the possibility of blacklisting Hikvision.

Hikvision is little known in the United States, but the company supplies large parts of China’s extensive surveillance system. The company’s products include traffic cameras, thermal cameras and unmanned aerial vehicles, and they now allow Chinese security agencies to monitor railway stations, roads and other sites.

It is not immediately clear what effect a United States ban would have on Hikvision’s business. The company appears to source just a small portion of its components from the United States, and any such ban could speed its efforts to switch to Chinese suppliers.

But Hikvision does have a growing international presence, and its executives have warned in the past about the potential for rising anti-China sentiment in the United States to affect its operations. The company says it has more than 34,000 global employees and dozens of divisions worldwide, and it has supplied products to the Beijing Olympics, the Brazilian World Cup and the Linate Airport in Milan. It has tried to expand into North America in recent years, employing hundreds of workers in the United States and Canada, setting up offices in California and building a North American research and development team headquartered in Montreal.

In a letter published in English in April, Hikvision’s chief compliance officer said that the company was taking reports that video surveillance products had been involved in human rights violations seriously and had commissioned an internal review of its operations to enhance screening standards to better protect human rights. “We are taking a hard look at our products and business,” the officer, Huang Fanghong, wrote.

Members of Congress from both parties have called on the administration to impose sanctions on companies involved in aiding China’s persecution of Muslims, including Hikvision. In an August 2018 letter, legislators also urged the Commerce Department to strengthen its controls over technology exported to these companies, and called on the government to increase disclosure requirements for publicly traded companies that might be complicit in human rights abuses.

Hikvision and Dahua, another company cited by lawmakers, are both listed on the Shenzhen stock exchange. MSCI, one of the largest index providers in the United States, added Hikvision to its benchmark emerging markets index last year. UBS and J. P. Morgan are among the company’s top 10 shareholders, according to Hikvision.

Representative Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California, said in an interview that the House Intelligence Committee, which he leads, could scrutinize more closely American companies that are investing in or partnering with Chinese firms that are building up the Chinese surveillance state.

Congress and the administration have responded with other measures that may clamp down on Hikvision’s business. Congress included a provision in its 2019 military spending authorization bill that banned federal agencies from using Chinese video surveillance products made by Hikvision or Dahua.

The Trump administration is also considering imposing sanctions on specific Chinese officials known to play critical roles in the surveillance and detention system in Xinjiang. These sanctions would be imposed under the Global Magnitsky Act. The highest-ranking official being considered for this type of targeted sanction is Chen Quanguo, a member of the party’s Politburo and party chief of Xinjiang since August 2016.

The State Department and White House National Security Council support imposing the sanctions, but officials at the Treasury Department have pushed back, citing a desire not to upset the trade talks, even though those have bogged down. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has advocated maintaining strong business ties with China.

The Commerce Department is also working on new restrictions on the types of potentially sensitive American technology that can be exported to foreign businesses, which are likely to touch on artificial intelligence and 5G abilities.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Xi Jinping Warns of New ‘Long March’ as Trade War Intensifies

BEIJING — President Xi Jinping of China called for the Chinese people to “start again” and begin a modern “long march,” invoking a turning point in Communist Party history as the country braces for a protracted trade war with the United States.

“Now there is a new long march, and we should make a new start,” Mr. Xi told a cheering crowd Monday in Jiangxi Province as he started a domestic tour that is seen as an attempt to rally the nation as trade tensions with the United States escalate.

Mr. Xi was accompanied by his top trade negotiator, Liu He, as he made the remarks at the historic site of the start of Mao Zedong’s Long March of 1934. The Long March was a 4,000-mile journey that took more than a year and would ultimately lead to the ousting 15 years later of the Nationalists by Mao and the Communists.

While Mr. Xi did not mention the trade war in his comments, they are the strongest signal yet that Beijing has abandoned hopes of a deal with the United States on the issue in the near term. Prospects of a deal faded earlier this month when talks broke down between negotiators for the two sides and President Trump accused China of breaking terms that had already been settled.

ImageWestlake Legal Group 22china-xi2-articleLarge Xi Jinping Warns of New ‘Long March’ as Trade War Intensifies Xi Jinping Trump, Donald J Politics and Government Jiangxi (China) International Trade and World Market China

Mr. Xi, second from left, visiting a rare earths mine in the city of Ganzhou on Monday. China is the largest source of the minerals, which are used in electronic devices.CreditXinhua, via Getty Images

The Chinese state media has ratcheted up nationalistic rhetoric in the last few days, comparing the trade war to the Korean War, during which Chinese troops were in direct combat with American forces. Over the weekend China’s national movie channel, CCTV-6, ran back-to-back films about the Korean War, saying that the footage was “echoing present times.”

The takeaway from these films for many Chinese is that “there’s no equal negotiation without fighting,” Hu Xijin, the editor of Global Times, a newspaper owned by the Communist Party, wrote on Twitter.

For months before the trade talks broke down, the Chinese state media had been more subdued, at times even delaying news of the worsening tensions. When Mr. Trump first indicated that he would increase tariffs to 25 percent from 10 percent on $200 billion in Chinese goods — and the stock markets swooned in response — there was hardly any mention of the threat in China, where the internet and other media are censored.

But after talks broke down between both sides, Chinese state media outlets changed their tone, saying that while China was prepared to resolve differences through negotiations, if the United States chose to fight, “we will fight to the end.”

One of Mr. Xi’s first visits on his tour was to a rare earths mine in Ganzhou, which some observers saw as an attempt to remind Mr. Trump of the leverage that China has when it comes to certain resources that the United States, and the rest of the world, depend on.

Rare earths are found in most of the electronics that the world uses every day, and China is the largest source of the minerals. China has used its control of rare earths to exert pressure before, most notably in 2010 when it halted all exports to Japan for two months over a territorial dispute.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Trump Administration Could Blacklist Chinese Surveillance Technology Firm

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration is considering limits to a Chinese video surveillance giant’s ability to buy American technology, people familiar with the matter said, the latest attempt to counter Beijing’s global economic ambitions.

The move would effectively place the company, Hikvision, on a United States blacklist. It also would mark the first time the Trump administration punished a Chinese company for its role in the surveillance and mass detention of Uighurs, a mostly Muslim ethnic minority.

The move is also likely to inflame the tensions that have escalated in President Trump’s renewed trade war with Chinese leaders. The president, in the span of two weeks, has raised tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, threatened to tax all imports and taken steps to cripple the Chinese telecom equipment giant Huawei. China has promised to retaliate against American industries.

Hikvision is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of video surveillance products and is central to China’s ambitions to be the top global exporter of surveillance systems. The Commerce Department may require that American companies obtain government approval to supply components to Hikvision, limiting the company’s access to technology that helps power its equipment.

Administration officials could make a final decision in the coming weeks.

The combination of more traditional surveillance equipment with new technologies, like artificial intelligence, speech monitoring and genetic testing, is helping make monitoring networks increasingly effective — and intrusive. Hikvision says its products enable their clients to track people around the country by their facial features, body characteristics or gait, or to monitor activity considered unusual by officials, such as people suddenly running or crowds gathering.

The potential crackdown stems from the Trump administration’s belief that China poses an economic, technological and geopolitical threat that cannot be left unchecked. The United States has targeted Chinese technology companies like Huawei that it believes could pose a national security threat given deep ties between the Chinese government and industry and laws that could require Chinese firms to hand over information if asked.

Adding to those concerns are the global human rights implications of China’s extensive surveillance industry, which it increasingly uses to keep tabs on its own citizens. The Chinese have used surveillance technology, including facial recognition systems and closed-circuit television cameras, to target the Turkic-speaking Uighurs, who have accused the Chinese government of discriminating against their culture and religion.

China has constructed what amounts to a police state in the country’s northwest region of Xinjiang, which Uighurs consider their homeland. That includes extensive surveillance powered by companies like Hikvision and barbed wire-ringed internment compounds that American officials estimate hold 800,000 to as many as three million Muslims.

[How China turned a city into a prison.]

China has begun exporting this technology to nations that seek closer surveillance of their citizens, including Ecuador, Zimbabwe, Uzbekistan, Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates.

Since last year, administration officials have debated what to do about China’s attempts to clamp down on the cultural and religious practices of the Uighurs. But they have refrained from taking action, in part because some American officials worried a move would derail attempts to win a trade deal with China.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in an interview with Fox News on May 2 that the administration was concerned “that the Chinese are working to put their systems in networks all across the world so they can steal your information and my information.” He mentioned the Muslim internment camps, adding “this is stuff that is reminiscent of the 1930s that present a real challenge to the United States, and this administration is prepared to take this on.”

Since trade talks with Beijing nearly crumbled early this month, the administration has quickly ramped up economic pressure on China. It is moving ahead with plans to tax an additional $300 billion in products, and announced a sweeping executive order cutting off Huawei from purchasing the American software and semiconductors it needs to make its products. While American companies can try to obtain a license to continue doing business with Huawei, firms like Google are making plans to curtail the products and services that they supply.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_155163954_779a73bc-2992-48ea-8a6c-ec53dc895ecc-articleLarge Trump Administration Could Blacklist Chinese Surveillance Technology Firm United States Politics and Government United States International Relations Uighurs (Chinese Ethnic Group) Surveillance of Citizens by Government Hikvision Embargoes and Sanctions Economic Conditions and Trends Defense and Military Forces China 5G (Wireless Communications)

The Trump administration is considering adding Hikvision to an “entity list” that could limit its ability to buy American technology.CreditT.J. Kirkpatrick for The New York Times

The administration is also attempting to prosecute a top Huawei executive, Meng Wanzhou, who faces criminal charges in the United States and is under house arrest in Canada, where she awaits a court decision on extradition.

The measure against Hikvision would operate similarly to Huawei’s license requirement. The Commerce Department would place it on an “entity list,” which requires designated foreign companies and American companies to get United States government approval before they do business with one another.

“Taking this step would be a tangible signal to both U.S. and foreign companies that the U.S. government is looking carefully at what is happening in Xinjiang and is willing to take action in response,” said Jessica Batke, a former State Department official who has done research in Xinjiang and testified before Congress on the issue. “At the same time, however, the ongoing trade war perhaps undercuts the perception that this is coming from a place of purely human rights concerns.”

The Commerce Department and the White House declined to comment. Hikvision did not respond to a request for comment.

Hikvision is little known in the United States, but the company supplies large parts of China’s extensive surveillance system. The company’s products include traffic cameras, thermal cameras and unmanned aerial vehicles, and they now allow Chinese security agencies to monitor railway stations, roads and other sites.

It is not immediately clear what effect a United States ban would have on Hikvision’s business. The company appears to source just a small portion of its components from the United States, and any such ban could speed its efforts to switch to Chinese suppliers.

But Hikvision does have a growing international presence, and its executives have warned in the past about the potential for growing anti-China sentiment in the United States to affect its operations. The company says it has more than 34,000 global employees and dozens of divisions worldwide, and it has supplied products to the Beijing Olympics, the Brazilian World Cup and the Linate Airport in Milan. It has tried to expand into North America in recent years, employing hundreds of workers in the United States and Canada, setting up offices in California and building a North American research and development team headquartered in Montreal.

Members of Congress from both parties have called on the administration to impose sanctions on companies involved in aiding China’s persecution of Muslims, including Hikvision. In an August 2018 letter, legislators also urged the Commerce Department to strengthen its controls over technology exported to these companies, and called on the government to increase disclosure requirements for publicly traded companies that might be complicit in human rights abuses.

Hikvision and Dahua, another company cited by lawmakers, are both listed on the Shenzhen stock exchange. MSCI, one of the largest index providers in the United States, added Hikvision to its benchmark emerging markets index last year. UBS and J. P. Morgan are among the company’s top 10 shareholders, according to Hikvision.

Representative Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California, said in an interview that the House Intelligence Committee, which he leads, could scrutinize more closely American companies that are investing in or partnering with Chinese firms that are building up the Chinese surveillance state.

Congress and the administration have responded with other measures that may clamp down on Hikvision’s business. Congress included a provision in its 2019 military spending authorization bill that banned federal agencies from using Chinese video surveillance products made by Hikvision or Dahua.

The Trump administration is also considering imposing sanctions on specific Chinese officials known to play critical roles in the surveillance and detention system in Xinjiang. These sanctions would be imposed under the Global Magnitsky Act. The highest-ranking official being considered for this type of targeted sanction is Chen Quanguo, a member of the party’s Politburo and party chief of Xinjiang since August 2016.

The State Department and White House National Security Council support imposing the sanctions, but officials at the Treasury Department have pushed back, citing a desire not to upset the trade talks, even though those have bogged down. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has advocated maintaining strong business ties with China.

The Commerce Department is also working on new restrictions on the types of potentially sensitive American technology that can be exported to foreign businesses, which are likely to touch on artificial intelligence and 5G abilities.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

China is hosting the next winter Olympic Games because nobody else wanted to

Westlake Legal Group OlympicRings China is hosting the next winter Olympic Games because nobody else wanted to The Blog Olympic Games International Olympic Committee China BEIJING 2022 Olympics

Yes, this is an odd time to be talking about the Olympic Games, since we’re sort of in the middle of a cycle. But it’s worth pointing out that the 2022 Winter Olympics are out there on the horizon and they’re going to be in Beijing. (Technically in a bunch of places across China, but that’s the center.) It’s something I look forward to because I really enjoy watching the curling. But wait, you might be thinking. Didn’t China just host the games pretty recently? Yes, they did. They hosted the Summer Olympics in 2008 and put on one heck of a show.

So how did they get back in the rotation again so quickly? That’s a funny story. If we dig back in history to 2015 when the bidding was being considered, there were a number of countries initially putting in bids, but nearly all of the finalists took themselves out of the competition. This archived article from Deadspin has all of the details.

The next Olympics to be awarded, a little more than a year from now, will be the 2022 Winter Games. Rather than going to the strongest bid, the games may end up going to the last city standing—a long list of potential hosts have given up on their Olympic dreams because the whole thing is one huge, useless waste of money.

Yesterday, Krakow, Poland, officially withdrew its bid for the games, a day after a citywide referendum where 70 percent of voters came out against hosting the Olympics. “Krakow is closing its efforts to be the host of the 2022 Winter Games due to the low support for the idea among the residents,” said mayor Jacek Majchrowski.

In January, another of the six original finalists pulled out, when Stockholm, Sweden’s ruling political party declined to fund the games. They cited the pointlessness of paying hundreds of millions for facilities that would be used for two weeks and then rarely again, a story common to almost all Olympic hosts.

This is rather remarkable. The International Olympic Committee likes to spread the honors around, but when the bidding was going on for these upcoming winter games, they were barely able to find anyone to take on the job. Krakow, Poland had a strong bid, but they held a public referendum and nearly three-quarters of the people hated the idea. Stockholm dropped out next, refusing to bear the costs.

But it didn’t stop there. Munich, German had put in a bid, but even when it looked like they were a solid contender, they had to put it to a vote where it was also rejected. Officials there cited “the greed for profit of the IOC.” A joint bid from Davos/St. Moritz, Switzerland similarly had to be put to a public referendum and was rejected as well. The same thing happened in Oslo. In fact, when it came down to the original finalists, the only three that were willing to offer their services were Lviv, Ukraine (rejected because there was sort of a war going on and all), Almaty, Kazakhstan, and Beijing.

Kazakhstan didn’t look financially suitable for such a project, so in the end, it was China because they were the only ones able to flush that much money into a project that is far more propaganda and far less profit potential. This brings me back to a suggestion I’ve made in the past. Why do we keep rotating these games around and sticking cities and countries with massive complexes that generally have little useful purpose other than hosting the games?

Take them back to Greece and leave them there. Set up permanent stadiums for the games themselves and practice facilities that all the other countries can pay to use. Greece could use the money and it would be easier to secure one set of facilities against possible attacks than a collection of centers across the globe.

The post China is hosting the next winter Olympic Games because nobody else wanted to appeared first on Hot Air.

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Apple Appears to Have Gone Full-On, Stealing-and-Lying, Communist China Native

The Big Lie everyone told each other in the early 1970s – was that opening trade with Communist China would lead to their government and society becoming more open and free.

Big Business wanted to avail themselves of the cost-cutting slave labor the ChiComms were offering.

Screw the tens of millions of American employees they were leaving in the lurch.

And screw the millions of American small businesses who can’t afford to relocate to the other side of the planet – who then have to compete against slave-labor-subsidized Big Business.

Big Government liked the Big Donations Big Business was giving them to write really awful, anti-America “free trade” deals.

That dramatically favored Big Businesses that left America to establish themselves in the Chinese Sleeping Dragon – which we were then very stupidly beginning to awaken.

At the expense of American employees – and American companies…that remained American.

And every time things got ever-so-slightly uncomfortable for Big Business – Big Government was more than happy to further tweak the America Last trade deals.

To even further benefit Big Business.  In exchange for even more Big Donations, of course.

At the even further expense of American employees and companies.

All in the name of “Free Trade!!!”

Lather, rinse, repeat for half a century.  And everyone is then shocked when We the People elect Donald Trump President – to put an end to this viciously anti-America nonsense.

Westlake Legal Group Apple-China Apple Appears to Have Gone Full-On, Stealing-and-Lying, Communist China Native Technology Social Media Qualcomm Politics Policy Patents Media law Internet Intel Government Front Page Stories Front Page Federal Trade Commission Economy Courts China Capitalism California Business & Economy Breaking apple

Of course, the Big Lie was…a Big Lie.  Communist China didn’t open themselves to additional freedom and freedoms.  Even a little.

All we’ve done – is fund with trillions of our dollars the Communist Chinese government.  In the name of “Free Trade!!!”

Any totalitarian thing the ChiComms can envision – which they previously couldn’t afford – we have now made easily possible.

And the ChiComms can now endlessly exert their heinous influence – all the world over.  Because, again, we’ve given them trillions of our dollars.  In the name of “Free Trade!!!”

Soviet Union leftovers in Russia have to be staring blankly at our titanic ChiComm stupidity.  Wondering what could have been – if we had handed the Soviets the trillions of dollars we’ve handed the ChiComms.

Perhaps no company has more thoroughly availed themselves of our anti-America Communist China policy – than Apple.

Here’s Why Apple Is So Vulnerable to a Trade War with China:

“Apple is especially vulnerable to a trade war with China for two primary reasons.

“First, it assembles its iPhones primarily in China….

“The other reason is that Apple, unlike other big tech companies, makes a substantial amount of its money by selling its products to Chinese consumers.”

Apple long ago sold its soul to Communist China.  To make cheap stuff – and to sell it to one billion ChiComm captives.

Had Apple been making things in the US, they would have had to hire <GASP> free Americans – rather than ChiComm slaves.

And had Apple been making things in the US, they would have been subjected to the massive trade impediments – tariffs and import limits – Communist China imposes on US-made stuff.

Because, you know, “Free Trade!!!”

In order to keep their particular Big Lie going, Apple must ignore China incessantly ripping them off.

Apple and IBM Among US Tech Giants to Blame Chinese Regulations for Breaching Intellectual Property Rights

Report Details Apple’s Struggles to Tackle iPhone Repair Fraud in China, Which Cost Apple Billions of Dollars a Year

China Steals Secrets Behind Apple’s Self-Driving Car

Apple has capitulated to Communist China’s demands – to censor and spy upon the ChiComms’ slave captives.  You know – the ones making Apple’s stuff.

Apple’s Tim Cook ‘Proud’ to Work With China to Censor Internet

Apple Removes Apps From China Store That Help Internet Users Evade Censorship

And of course China has its own companies.  Guess with whom the Communist government is going to side in disputes with Apple – no matter ridiculous the charges?

A Chinese Company Accused Apple of Stealing the iPhone 6 Design, and the Government Agrees

There seems to be no limit to how much ChiComm crap Apple will suffer – in order to maintain its access to the ChiComms’ slave captives.

And Apple seems to have gone full-on, stealing-and-lying, Communist China native.

And have begun importing ChiComm anti-business, anti-market, anti-freedom “business practices” – into the US.

Apple: ‘We Won’t Pay You. We’ll Keep Using Your Stuff – But We Won’t Pay You’

Apple Stops Paying Qualcomm’s Patent Royalties

Apple’s Latest Heist: Stealing Qualcomm’s IP – and Handing It to Intel

But this ain’t Communist China – this is America.  So when Apple’s massive heist finally went to trial here – Reality set in.

Apple and Qualcomm Settle All Disputes Worldwide

Qualcomm Expects at Least $4.5 Billion from Apple Settlement

Great news.

Except, most unfortunately, one case remains outstanding.

The Barack Obama Federal Trade Commission (FTC) – at the behest of Apple, a mere three days before it became the Donald Trump FTC – filed a ludicrous lawsuit against Qualcomm.

When the Government Sues to Undermine the Constitution

In which the Obama Administration sued Qualcomm’s patents – for being a monopoly.  How very helpful for Apple.  How very Communist China of the Obama FTC.

Qualcomm to Pay $975 Million Antitrust Fine to China

But of course – patents ARE monopolies.  Per the US Constitution.  Per the US government.  Per the dictionary:

“The exclusive right granted by a government to an inventor to manufacture, use, or sell an invention for a certain number of years.”

The Obama FTC case shambled forward – until now.  Where both sides have rested – in the court of Obama-appointee judge Lucy Koh.

An Obama Judge Could Singlehandedly Kill US Intellectual Property And National Security

“Translation: Koh likes to ignore the Constitution and the law.  And make stuff up so as to impose her personal policy preferences – ‘break new ground’ so as to be an ‘agent of change’ – rather than remain within the confines of the law.

“Koh is supposed to rule on and within the law.  If she wants to change the law – she should ditch the robe and run for Congress.

“The Obama Administration that appointed Koh – was almost inarguably the most anti-Intellectual Property (IP) administration in our history.”

As we await Judge Koh’s decision – we have uncovered yet another lying wrinkle in Apple’s uber-wrinkled Chinese Shar-Pei face.

An Evidentiary Cornerstone of the FTC’s Antitrust Case Against Qualcomm May Have Rested on Manipulated Data:

“The evidence presented by Qualcomm in its opening statement suggests some troubling conduct by Apple….

“(B)uried in the DOJ’s Statement is an important indication of why it filed its Statement when it did, just about a week after the end of the Apple v. Qualcomm case, and a pointer to a much larger issue that calls the FTC’s case against Qualcomm even further into question…

“Internal Apple documents that recently became public describe how, in an effort to ‘[r]educe Apple’s net royalty to Qualcomm,’ Apple planned to ‘[h]urt Qualcomm financially’ and ‘[p]ut Qualcomm’s licensing model at risk,’ including by filing lawsuits raising claims similar to the FTC’s claims in this case ….

“One commentator has observed that these documents ‘potentially reveal that Apple was engaging in a bad faith argument both in front of antitrust enforcers as well as the legal courts about the actual value and nature of Qualcomm’s patented innovation.’”

So Apple – was lying its face off.

In its court cases with Qualcomm.

And in Obama FTC Qualcomm suit.

All in an effort to obfuscate Apple’s multi-billion-dollar theft of Qualcomm’s Intellectual Property.

How very Communist China of Apple all of this is.

Gone native, indeed.

The post Apple Appears to Have Gone Full-On, Stealing-and-Lying, Communist China Native appeared first on RedState.

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Andy Street: An industrial strategy in the West Midlands to kickstart an industrial revolution

Andy Street is Mayor of the West Midlands, and is a former Managing Director of John Lewis.

While the UK has been stuck in the debate over Europe, a critical domestic policy has been rolling forward, without fanfare, that will determine our future prosperity. The march of technology stops for nothing – not even Brexit – and the businesses and regions which embrace it will be the winners of the future.

After months of preparation, collaboration and consultation, last week saw the launch of the UK’s first ever Local Industrial Strategy – right here in the West Midlands.

As the crucible of the first Industrial Revolution our region was a fitting location to unveil a new approach to business. However, this week’s launch was about looking forward, not back. It saw the dawn of a new kind of industrial thinking, that not only mirrors the changes going on here in the West Midlands, it shows how a Conservative approach to business, investment and innovation can drive regional economies to spread growth and prosperity across the nation.

What has changed? In the twentieth century, industrial strategy was all about scale: the Government would identify potential winners among our biggest companies and back them through investment and policy. In the twenty-first century, industrial strategy must take the opposite approach, opening up opportunity on a macro level, identifying areas of excellence, spotting emerging markets and encouraging a plethora of businesses to grow. This reinforces Britain as a place where competition and challenge are encouraged, and where innovative ideas can take off.

This is the approach that we have taken in the West Midlands, where we have seen powerful growth based on the diversity of our business sectors.

The evidence is there to be seen: more and more new start-ups are picking the West Midlands as their home. Nowhere else outside of London has seen the growth witnessed in our region. Output here has risen by 27 per cent in last five years. Our productivity growth was twice the rate of the rest of the UK in 2017-18.

However, strategy is about recognising your strengths – and here in the West Midlands we have identified four areas that represent major strategic opportunities, where growth can be nurtured.

First of all, with our diverse and growing population, we have opportunities to lead in biomedical research and developing medical devices. Our ability to work with patient data is a major advantage for the West Midlands. With the population of Scotland and the genome of the world, our region could become a global laboratory for data-driven health care.

Second, in the creative field, we enjoy a wealth of design, digital, TV, film, VR and gaming companies, and ambitious universities keen to work with them. Birmingham and Solihull alone have the potential to add nearly 4,000 new creative enterprises and 30,000 new related jobs.

Third, as we move more towards a service-based economy, we expect to see large-scale growth in the Business Services sector. This already employs 400,000 people across the conurbation – with 125,000 more jobs forecast by 2030. There are also huge opportunities to provide business services to the evolving construction industry.

Finally, we aim to build on the Midland’s status as the home of the British motor trade to make it the UK’s centre for mobility. We have the supply chains and transport pedigree to bring huge investment to a renowned automotive sector, as well as light rail and aerospace.

Indeed, we launched our strategy last week with a new £28 million investment in the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre in Coventry, which will develop pioneering batteries for electric vehicles. The investment, through the Industrial Strategy’s Challenge Fund, comes on top of an £80 million initial investment in the centre.

Coventry has always been the heart of the UK’s motor industry, and we want it to be the centre of the emerging global autonomous vehicle industry. We recognise that we are in a race with Silicon Valley, China, German cities like Stuttgart, and Detroit in the US to be the world-wide capital of the driverless car revolution – and thanks to this crucial Government investment Coventry is well on its way to that destination.

The pioneering centre will support the region’s plans to deliver the first fully-operational connected autonomous vehicles before the world descends on the Midlands for the Commonwealth Games, in Birmingham, in 2022.
Through local industrial strategies, this kind of significant, targeted Government investment will create quality jobs, accelerate growth and create a stronger and fairer economy across the country.

Crucially, an agreed strategy ensures the Government and regions commit to a defined plan, ensuring we work in concert moving forward – while also creating a framework for future investment. This puts the focus on implementation, rather than planning. It gets things done.

Choosing the West Midlands as the launchpad of the Local Industrial Strategy concept is a vote of confidence in our local economy, and it is a vote of confidence in the ability of our regions to accelerate the UK’s economic growth.
It is also a vote of confidence in devolution. This region, where much of the modern world was forged, is today enjoying a renaissance. Under the leadership of a Conservative Mayor, the West Midlands Combined Authority – which includes the seven member boroughs of Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Solihull, Walsall, Coventry, Dudley and Sandwell – has adopted a collaborative approach that is seeing real change.

Our region has been transformed into an economic powerhouse that generates nearly £100 billion of goods and services.

However, the success of this industrial vision requires better housing, connectivity, skills, transport and energy. My office has been working on building this foundation, from doubling the number of good-quality apprenticeships by 2030 to delivering £3.4bn of investment in trams, road and rail over the next decade.

We will increase the rate of housing delivery with a £350 million housing plan, investing £250 million in reclaiming contaminated industrial land and developing the skills required through the National Brownfield Institute in Wolverhampton.

But there is so much more we can do. As Conservatives, we must support commerce and the communities that rely upon it. When a backwards-looking opposition regards business as ‘the real enemy’, it’s vital that we provide the investment and leadership to equip industry for the challenges of the 21st century.

I am proud that the West Midlands is leading the way in industrial strategy, just as our forebears did. But this is not about the past – by staying true to traditional Conservative values of backing business and embracing innovation, we are carving out a future where the UK’s regions can power economic growth for the entire nation.

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