The darkness of not knowing disappears: How a China data leak is giving Uyghurs answers about missing family members
Rebecca Wright, Ivan Watson and the Visuals Team at CNN report:
Imagine a world where your entire family has been detained or imprisoned, but you can’t find out why, or for how long. The police also have your DNA, voice samples and iris scans on file — along with biometric data on your children, your family and your whole community.
For years, this dystopian system of governance has been a reality in China’s far western Xinjiang region, where authorities have built a vast surveillance apparatus designed to detain, monitor and silence its population of Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities.
Now, the scale of that system is being exposed as a major leak of Chinese police documents enters a new phase. The giant cache of files has been made accessible to the public by a new online search tool that enables people to discover what details the Chinese state has about their loved ones in Xinjiang.
A smaller subset of this data — known as the Xinjiang Police Files — was published last May. Further examination of the files then revealed their full extent, uncovering approximately 830,000 individuals across 11,477 documents and thousands of photographs.
The police files were hacked and leaked by an anonymous individual, then obtained by Adrian Zenz, a director of China Studies at the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, a US-based non-profit. Zenz and his team spent months developing the search tool, which they hope will empower the Uyghur diaspora with concrete information about their relatives, after years of separation and silence.
Read and see more at CNN.