A Christian Response to Xinjiang: Technological Repression and Cultural Genocide

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German journalist and long-time Beijing resident Kai Strittmatter says in his 2020 book We Have Been Harmonized: Life in China’s Surveillance State, “In China there is no repression; there is simply ‘stability maintenance’ (weiwen) and a ‘harmonious society’ (hexie shehui).”[1] Harmony, Strittmatter says, is when ordinary people do not make a fuss.

The Chinese government uses technology to track, surveil, and maintain stability across the entire country, but in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (herein “Xinjiang”) technology is used as a means of assimilation and intimidation in what many people have called a high-tech panopticon.[2] Agnes Callamard, Amnesty International’s Secretary General, described the Chinese Communist Party’s surveillance state as a “dystopian hellscape on a staggering scale in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.”[3] Amnesty International is one of several human rights groups that have accused the Chinese government of crimes against humanity.

Uyghurs and other Turkic minorities in Xinjiang are placed in detention camps for spurious reasons, including having a beard or “acting Muslim,” although religion is less of a factor than loyalty to the Chinese state and renouncement of anything that would be culturally different. Uyghur writer and poet Perhat Tursun was detained by authorities in 2018 even though, as his translator, Darren Byler, points out, “he is avowedly secular and is not an advocate of ethno-nationalism.”[4] Tursun is considered one of the most influential Uyghur writers in Xinjiang, although his novels tended to attract critics for being too decadent. Tellingly, one of his major critics was also detained by Chinese authorities. Minority cultures and influential figures are seen as a threat to the Party, whatever those person’s particular views may be.

This kind of oppression is nothing new, but the means by which the Chinese Communist Party subdues and assimilates the population in Xinjiang is. Journalists Josh Chin and Liza Lin in their 2022 book Surveillance State: Inside China’s Quest to Launch a New Era of Social Control, state that

the Communist Party’s offensive in Xinjiang ranks among the most unsettling political developments of the twenty-first century. Chinese leaders have revived totalitarian techniques of the past and blended them with futuristic technologies in an effort not to eradicate a religious minority but to reengineer it.[5]

Algorithms dictate which people should be investigated and detained, and algorithms hold police accountable to stop, interrogate, and arrest a quota of Uyghurs and other potentially troublesome people in certain counties in Xinjiang. Interviews with individuals who have been sent to the detention camps, described as vocational training schools or re-education camps to combat extremism, report torture, rape, and forced labor as well as brainwashing and indoctrination. Women have been sent to the camps for having too many children. Many said they were forcibly sterilized. These practices, plus transferring men to other parts of China to work, have resulted in an over 40% decline in births in the Xinjiang region over a five-year period, the largest decrease in birthrates for a region since the UN started keeping track of that data. Even those who are not detained are subjected to intrusive home searches, biometric data collection, and around-the-clock surveillance.

Maya Wang, China senior researcher at Human Rights Watch, says the mass surveillance in Xinjiang is a cautionary tale for everyone:

Xinjiang really shows how privacy is a gateway right, where if you have no privacy, that’s where you see that you have no freedoms as a human being at all. You don’t have the right to practice your religion, you don’t have the right to be who you are, you don’t even have the right to think your own thoughts because your thoughts are being parsed out by these incessant visits and incessantly monitored by surveillance systems, whether they’re human or artificial, and evaluated constantly for your level of loyalty to the government.[6]

While the determination of genocide or the international definition of genocide may be legally debatable, there seems to be broad agreement that the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is guilty of crimes against humanity, torture, and cultural genocide, particularly among minorities in Xinjiang, Tibet, and Inner Mongolia.[7] These human rights abuses have been conducted through the implementation of technologies such that political scientist and former professor at the Central Party School of the Chinese Communist Party Cai Xia has said the PRC under Xi Jinping has become a neo-totalitarian state in which high-tech surveillance technologies have served as a means of social control throughout China.[8]

This topic brings together two areas of bioethical discourse: human rights abuses and technological ethics. The Chinese Communist Party has used the power of the state along with the latest technologies to incarcerate people without due process, rob them of their religious liberties (which are ostensibly guaranteed in China’s constitution), conduct eugenic practices to dilute the Uyghur population as well as forcibly remove children from their parents, and engage in trafficking of Uyghurs and other minorities for forced labor.

All religious groups in China have experienced silencing by the Party and intense persecution, as catalogued by Bitter Winter, an online magazine that obtains first-hand reports of affronts to religious liberties from people living in China,[9] and as outlined by the U.S. Department of State’s Report on International Religious Freedom.[10] As Christians, we need to champion the cause of human rights and religious liberties for minorities in Xinjiang because (1) the Uyghurs and other Turkic minorities are human beings made in the image of God and, therefore, deserving of basic rights; (2) we have a Biblical precedent in the Old Testament to love the sojourner and other vulnerable peoples; (3) religious freedom for one group expands religious freedoms for other groups, including fellow Christians in China; (4) we have a Biblical precedent to have compassion and love for our neighbor.

Image of God and Justice by Governing Authorities

In March 2021, Newlines Institute for Strategy and Policy published a report outlining how the government of the People’s Republic of China has violated every provision in the Genocide Convention of 1948. The Newlines report compiled articles, research, leaked documents, investigative reports, and first-hand accounts to show the Communist Party of China has engaged in a campaign to systematically eliminate the Uyghur, Kazakh, and other Turkic minorities in the region known as the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.[11]

An International Tribunal determined that the People’s Republic of China is without a doubt guilty of torture and crimes against humanity. The tribunal provides a qualified determination that the PRC is committing a type of genocide.[12] At the same time, The United States Holocaust Museum Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide report “To Make Us Slowly Disappear” states its grave concern that the Chinese government may be committing genocide against the Uyghur community in Xinjiang.[13]

The U.S., Canada, The Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Belgium, and the UK have accused the Chinese government of genocide, which is defined as the “intent to destroy, in whole or part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.”[14] Forty countries have accused the Chinese government of human rights abuses.[15] A recent report from the United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner, however, did not go as far as to accuse the Chinese government of genocide, but that the Chinese government may be guilty of “crimes against humanity.”[16] Visiting fellow at the Paul Tsai China Center at Yale Law School and former regional director for Amnesty International Asia Nicholas Bequelin says the Genocide Convention does not include “cultural genocide,” which was removed during negotiations of the international laws on genocide, so it may not technically qualify as genocide. However, Bequelin says that the situation in Xinjiang has the characteristics of colonization:

The relation between Han Chinese, Uyghur, and other Turkic minorities in Xinjiang is glaringly a colonial situation, where you have a representative of a metropolitan center bearing a “superior” civilization and economy that are engaged in the process of “modernizing” and dragging into the future some “backward” minorities.[17]

Uyghur expert and translator Darren Byler says the Chinese Communist Party now views all Uyghur culture and writing through a kind of political lens, such that all art is seen as a threat. After September 11, 2001, the Chinese Communist Party co-opted the language of “War on Terror,” “extremists,” and “terrorists” to describe their program of subduing the Uyghurs and other minorities in Xinjiang. Byler, who is fluent in Uyghur and Mandarin, says that in another time, “barbarian” or “savage” would provide the same connotations as the way the Chinese government refers to “Uyghur terrorist” or “extremist.”[18]

The U.S. Department of State’s Report on International Religious Freedom has documented the evidence provided by non-government organizations, journalists, academics, exiled Uyghurs, and leaked documents to paint a picture of one of the most egregious and systematic affronts to human dignity to an entire people group by a government since the Nazi era.

Unlike Nazi Germany, the Chinese Communist Party is interested in loyalty, integration, and assimilation rather than annihilation, and has incentivized Han men to marry Uyghur women to dilute the Uyghur population. However, many see the Chinese government’s treatment of the Uyghurs as a systematic annihilation of a people group through the elimination of their culture, history, language, and identity. While ethno-centralism and nationalism plays a role in the Han-centric government, it does not have the pseudo-scientific eugenic overtones to justify their actions. Instead, religious extremism and terrorism play this role.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, writing from prison during World War II, said that “in other times it may have been the business of Christianity to champion the equality of all men, but its business today [in 1943] will be to defend passionately human dignity and reserve.”[19] Human dignity as expressed through the biblical idea of the imago Dei has historically provided the impetus for justifying the liberation and freedom of oppressed and downtrodden no matter who they are.[20]

In contrast to the imago Dei, past authoritarian regimes have used dehumanizing language to create cognitive distance from the targeted group and the people. The Newlines report on Uyghur genocide says, “The use of metaphors of disease, cancer, or poison assimilated for Uyghurs as a group targets them as such and dehumanizes them as objects for destruction.”[21] Using language like “extremist,” “disease,” and “cancer” abstracts the group’s individuals from their humanity in the public’s eye rather than acknowledge their common humanity and inherent moral worth.

Xinjiang or East Turkistan: The “Pivot” of Asia and the Silk Road Highway

How did the Uyghurs and other Turkic minorities become targets? The history of the Uyghurs and China is complex, and made more difficult because, as Gardner Bovingdon says in his 2010 book The Uyghurs: Strangers in Their Own Land, both the Uyghur people and the Chinese Communist Party have used history for political ends. Both groups outline a history in which each have laid claim to the land region that makes up modern-day Xinjiang (or East Turkistan to those that object to China’s claims on the land) for thousands of years.[22] The famous Silk Road trading route went through modern-day Xinjiang and is the reason for Buddhist, Manichean, and Christian influences in Central Asia and among the Uyghur people. Owen Lattimore, an American explorer, called Xinjiang the “pivot of Asia” because of its central location connecting several large countries.[23]

Current relations hinge on the Qing Dynasty, which lasted from 1644 to 1911 and was the last imperial dynasty in China. In 1759 the Xinjiang province was claimed by the emperor. While the Uyghur peoples and the Chinese people both have histories dating back much earlier, it was at this point that Xinjiang became a Central Plains state and the national Chinese identity took shape. Following the tumultuous early twentieth century in China that included a civil war and a war with Japan, the area of Xinjiang was working toward self-governance, similar to other colonial territories around the world at the time. [24]

In 1949, when the Chinese Communist Party took control of the governance of China as part of the unification of China, the area of Xinjiang was renamed Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. All discussion of self-governance ceased and the CCP instead considered the Uyghurs and other minorities of Xinjiang minzu, a term that now has political connotations for ethnic minorities that are part of the Chinese nation.[25] In 1949, 7% of the population in Xinjiang, concentrated mainly in the cities, was Han, the majority ethnicity in China. Because of government incentives to move to the region, by 2019, 40% of the population was Han.

Xinjiang as a territory was, and continues to be, of particular interest to China for resource and trade reasons. Xinjiang’s oil and mineral reserves made it an attractive location for a Chinese population in need of more resources. However, as Josh Chin and Liza Lin point out, the territory was difficult for the Chinese government to control due to its remoteness and “dispersed population—Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, and Mongols, who shared only distant cultural and linguistic connections, if any, to China.”[26]

While the 1980s was a time of “opening up,” both culturally and economically, the 2000s became a time of subduing the population using technological means and exploiting both workers and land for resources. Once Xi Jinping took office in 2012, Xinjiang became a key part of his billion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The BRI, also called “the New Silk Road,” is a major infrastructure project in which the Chinese government provides loans and resources to developing countries in exchange for natural resources and exclusive technological support, although since 2020 many of these projects have been halted or abandoned.[27]

The Uyghur people have lost much of their cultural heritage to new projects and land seizures by the CCP. Some have immigrated to neighboring countries or sought asylum in other countries such as Australia, the UK, and the U.S. In this sense, we might liken these groups to the sojourners mentioned throughout Deuteronomy. A theme throughout Deuteronomy is God’s call for justice for the fatherless, widow, and sojourner (10:18; 14:29; 16:11, 14; 24:17, 19–21, 27:19).[28] Each of these people groups are “landless people.” They are without wealth and means to provide for themselves. Further, these groups were without legal standing to bring complaints of injustice before authorities. The people of God were to have a posture of generosity and compassion toward these groups with specific instructions that had economic implications, such as not reaping the entire harvest or collecting every olive from the olive tree, and they were to use a portion of the tithe for these groups.

Because so many men have been forcibly transferred or indefinitely imprisoned, there are many de facto widows among the Uyghurs. Additionally, some Uyghurs who have left China have been disowned by their families at the behest of the CCP, while children have been taken from their parents and placed in state-run schools that prohibit any Uyghur culture. Therefore, we have biblical precedent to love and care for these “landless” people. In modern terms, rather than sacrificially allowing gleaning of the harvest fields, this may mean considering economic sacrifice through transparent supply chains and rejecting business practices that exploit people.

For example, in 2020, Xinjiang was the supplier of 20% of the world’s cotton, with some of the largest clothing retailers obtaining cotton from the region. A 2023 study by Adrien Zenz, one of the co-authors on the Newlines report, indicates that state-sanctioned forced labor for harvesting raw cotton is ongoing in Xinjiang.[29] The solar panel industry has ties to forced labor in Xinjiang,[30] and Apple has been accused of using parts made from Uyghur laborers who were unwillingly transferred from Xinjiang to work in factories in other parts of China.[31] Satellite imagery shows factories attached to detainment facilities where corroborating reports confirm many detainees are forced to work in factories twelve to fifteen hours per day with little pay and under inhumane conditions.[32] While it may be impossible to buy products without forced labor at some point in the supply chain, several retailers have willingly taken an economic hit by not buying inexpensive cotton or other products manufactured in regions where forced labor is rampant. Furthermore, the U.S. (and other countries) have enacted targeted sanctions on exports from Xinjiang to dis-incentivize purchasing from this region and promote transparency on the part of the provincial government.[33]

Technology as a Tool for Oppression and Repression[34]

Journalists Josh Chin and Liza Lin note in Surveillance State that throughout history, social control has been inseparable from the harvesting of personal information. State surveillance has historically taken advantage of the latest in technological prowess.[35] Orwell wrote of the dystopic possibilities of an all-encompassing surveillance state in 1984, although the technological capabilities to monitor everyone at any time has only been realized in the twenty-first century with the computing capacity to store massive data sets, interrogate the data using algorithms, and receive real-time feedback via internet technologies.

In the early 2000s the Chinese government commenced the “Golden Shield” project, a massive digital surveillance project used to monitor society and quell dissent before it became violent. At the time, China used technologies from the U.S and Canada to begin work on the Golden Shield, although it was not until 2013 that Chinese authorities were able to integrate all their data systems to create a storehouse of data on every individual.

Part of the Golden Shield project was the construction of China’s “Great Firewall,” which allows the Cyberspace Administration of China and Ministry of Public Security to restrict what websites are permitted within China’s borders as well as monitor user’s web activity for anything that may be seen as a threat to Party authority. Today most international websites are restricted, including social media platforms like Twitter or Facebook, although Chinese citizens get around the firewall using a VPN (virtual private network). However, even using a VPN can get a person flagged by the government, and in Xinjiang could be used as grounds for being detained.

Two thousand nine marked a turning point for the Chinese government’s use of these technologies. A fight broke out at a factory in Guangdong (southeast China) between Uyghur and Han workers that resulted in the death of two Uyghurs. Word of this incident spread on the internet, leading to approximately 1,000 Uyghurs protesting in the Xinjiang capital, Urumqi, 2,500 miles away. The protests turned violent, resulting in almost 200 people dead and over 1,500 injured. During this time, cell phone and internet access was cut off in Xinjiang and was not completely turned back on until a year later.[36]

Previously, WeChat (the Chinese all-in-one text messaging, pay, and personal communication app) and Sina Weibo (a microblogging app similar to Facebook and Twitter) were tools for groups to communicate and connect in Xinjiang and throughout the rest of China. The 2009 internet blackout and restrictions on cell phone coverage were unprecedented moves by the Chinese government and marked the beginning of a new policy to digitally subdue the Uyghurs and other Turkic minorities in Xinjiang.[37]

In the broader technological and geo-political context, Apple’s smartphone made its debut in 2010, and December 2010 marked the beginning of the Arab Spring, a series of protests and uprisings in largely Muslim authoritarian countries that, in many cases, were calls for greater freedoms and democratic governance. The Arab Spring demonstrated the power of technological connectivity, largely through social media, in mobilizing anti-government forces and served as a lesson for the Chinese government on what works best to quell opposition to the state.[38]

The Arab Spring had echoes of the color revolutions that occurred in the Soviet Union. So, when the Arab Spring influenced an anonymous user to call for a “Jasmine Revolution” in several of China’s major cities on Twitter, the Chinese authorities responded by blocking Twitter and censoring any references to it on Weibo. Several protesters were arrested, and human rights activists were detained preemptively.[39]

General Secretary Xi is known to be a tech optimist and sees a technological solution to problems of corruption, social control, and competing with foreign powers.[40] After he entered office in 2012, the Chinese government launched its Skynet and Sharp Eyes initiatives that extended digital cameras equipped with facial recognition software throughout the country, with the eventual goal of cameras being able to cover every part of the country. The extent to which the authorities were monitoring people, and what exactly they were looking for, has been and continues to be opaque, especially in “sensitive areas” like Tibet and Xinjiang.

By 2013, about a million Uyghurs were on WeChat, but few of them were aware that their conversations were being monitored by authorities. By 2014, Xi Jinping put a taskforce in place to monitor instant messaging apps for “rumors and information leading to violence, terrorism, and pornography.”[41] Wired reports that WeChat and its rival apps were required to provide the Chinese government with access to their data, allowing the government to monitor the app’s users. The Chinese government has co-opted private-sector companies, along with their storehouses of individual data, for its own goals. Among those private-sector companies are facial recognition and surveillance camera companies like Hikvision and SenseTime, as well as monitoring apps like IJOP. These technologies have enabled the Chinese Communist Party to make Xinjiang, and to some extent the rest of China, into the most extensive technological surveillance state in the world.[42]

However, the Great Firewall is not impenetrable. Since 2019, there has been a parade of documents leaked to the media and other non-governmental organizations. Leaked documents to the New York Times,[43] the Associated Press,[44] Human Rights Watch,[45] as well as intelligence reports from Japan,[46] Party defectors,[47] and investigations using satellite data[48] reveal the Chinese government’s strategy in its “strike hard” campaign against extremism in Xinjiang. These reports played a key role in prompting both the former and the current U.S. Secretaries of State to formally accuse the Chinese government of engaging in genocide. The list of leaked documents, particularly of the abuses in Xinjiang, has grown to such an extent that journalists and academics have been able to piece together a timeline of the technological repression in Xinjiang that commenced in 2014 with the Chinese government’s “Strike Hard against Extremism” campaign. This was followed by the appointment of Chen Quanguo as the Communist Party Secretary of Xinjiang in 2016. Previously, Chen was the party secretary in the Tibetan Autonomous Region and was notorious for using extreme measures to establish and maintain order. Subsequent internal speeches, only recently transcribed via leaked documents,[49] outline a five-year plan to bring stabilization and control to Xinjiang.

The proposed five-year plan coincides with the years of the highest numbers of known detentions of Uyghur people and was divided into four phases. From 2017 to 2018, the goal was to “stabilize” the region, followed by 2018 to 2019 where they will “consolidate” the gain they make in stabilizing Xinjiang. Then from 2019 to 2020 the governing bodies will achieve “basic normalization” of the new security state, and from 2020 to 2021, Xinjiang will reach “comprehensive stability.” The means of accomplishing this involved mass digital surveillance, biometric collection, forced sterilization, and removal of 18-to-50-year-old men from households and the workforce.

Even though the five-year plan to subdue Xinjiang ended in 2021, reports from various media show that Uyghurs remain in camps and the surveillance and monitoring systems remain in place. Additionally, Uyghurs in other countries are being monitored and harassed by the Chinese government with threats to their families back at home. One Uyghur activist, Mamtimin Ala, recounts in his book Worse than Death when he had received a phone call from Xinjiang authorities while living in exile in Sydney. The phone call referenced his mother, who he had not seen in fifteen years. He was told that they would go visit her to “check on her” because she was ill, code for threatening to his mother.[50]

Who Is My (Digital) Neighbor?

Xi Jinping has ruled with a heavy hand against any religion or set of beliefs that competes with the Party, and specifically Xi Jinping Thought, harkening back to the days of Mao Zedong. Since 2018, there has been increased pressure to subdue religious practice of any type.[51]

Several commentators have said that Xinjiang is a testing ground for the rest of China.[52] Technological surveillance is used to quell religious mobilization from any group by flagging people who buy religious texts online or go to certain websites. It involves visiting people who use certain words in their personal communications or on social media. Sometimes it involves arresting people for spurious reasons, such as having a group of people over for dinner or using too much electricity during certain hours.[53] Hannah Nation writes in her introduction to Faith in the Wilderness: Words of Exhortation from the Chinese Church that Christian house church leaders have undergone years of suffering and persecution.[54] Many outlined in the book risked punishment for broadcasting their sermons online during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Political theorist Cai Xia calls the Chinese Communist Party a neo-totalitarian regime because of its use of technological means to repress and control people.[55] The five-year plan and the use of technological means to isolate and control an ethnic group infringes on Uyghur’s basic human rights, including the right to privacy and religious freedom, both of which are necessary for human flourishing. Furthermore, people from this group (and some sympathizers) have been unjustly imprisoned or forced to work in inhuman conditions. Many have been physically assaulted and some have died in the detention camps.

Psalm 146 promises that God, in contrast to imperfect governing bodies (i.e., princes), will execute justice for the oppressed, and specifically that he will watch over the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow. Romans 13 describes governing bodies as those who should serve as God’s ministers of justice, and that it is from God that they have been given the authority to wield the sword. Totalitarianism is particularly insidious because at its heart, it is man’s attempt to be God. It is an attempt to see all, know all, and control all, and in so doing to be above the law because those who are in power see themselves not as ministers of the law but as the law in and of themselves.[56]

Although we do not live in China, we should be concerned for the abuses occurring there. In Luke 10 we are admonished to love our neighbor in the parable of The Good Samaritan. The Samaritan, rather than the priest or Levite, served as the exemplar because he had compassion on the beaten man, who presumably was a Jew traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho. Samaritans and Jews did not typically intermingle, but in this parable, we see that our “neighbor” is not necessarily the person whose beliefs or nationality is the same as ours but any fellow human being who has been mistreated and the recipient of injustice at the hand of wickedness.

In his article “Justice in the Bible,” the late pastor Timothy Keller writes that the idea of universal equality in the Bible was unique and revolutionary in world history, and while we are to treat all equally without partiality, we are also to have a special concern for the poor, the weak, and the powerless.[57] Keller quotes a passage from Calvin’s Institutes in which Calvin says Christians should do more than merely do good, but “put themselves in the place of him whom they see in need of their assistance, and pity his ill fortune as if they themselves experienced and bore it, so that they may be impelled by a feeling of mercy and humanness to go to his aid just as to their own.”[58]

As Christians, we can seek to promote a world where we are free to sit with our Muslim neighbors and share our faith without fear of their or our imprisonment, torture, or death.


[1] Kai Strittmatter, We Have Been Harmonized: Life in China’s Surveillance State (New York: HarperCollins, 2020), 20.

[2] Ross Anderson, “The Panopticon Is Already Here,” The Atlantic, September 2020, https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2020/09/china-ai-surveillance/614197/.

[3] “China: Draconian Repression of Muslims in Xinjiang Amounts to Crimes against Humanity,” Amnesty International, June 10, 2021, https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2021/06/china-draconian-repression-of-muslims-in-xinjiang-amounts-to-crimes-against-humanity/.

[4] Darren Byler, “Introduction,” in Perhat Tursun, The Backstreets: a Novel from Xinjiang, trans. Darren Byler (New York: Columbia University Press, 2022), xvi.

[5] Josh Chin and Liza Lin, Surveillance State: Inside China’s Quest to Launch a New Era of Social Control (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2022), 5–6.

[6] Yael Grauer, “Revealed: Massive Chinese Police Database,” The Intercept, January 29, 2021, https://theintercept.com/2021/01/29/china-uyghur-muslim-surveillance-police/.

[7] Cia Xia, China-US Relations in the Eyes of the Chinese Communist Party: An Insider’s Perspective (Hoover Institution Press, June 29, 2021), 24, https://www.hoover.org/research/china-us-relations-eyes-chinese-communist-party-insiders-perspective-zhong-gong-yan-zhong.

[8] Cia, China-US Relations in the Eyes of the Chinese Communist Party, 24

[9] See “About Page,” Bitter Winter, accessed October 10, 2023, https://bitterwinter.org/about/. I have interacted with one of Bitter Winter’s editors, Marco Respinti, a Christian residing in Italy, on my writings on China and technology.

[10] Office of International Religious Freedom, 2021 Report on International Religious Freedom: China (Includes Tibet, Xinjiang, Hong Kong, and Macau, U.S. Department of State, June 2, 2022, https://www.state.gov/reports/2021-report-on-international-religious-freedom/china/; Office of International Religious Freedom, 2022 Report on International Religious Freedom: China (Includes Hong Kong, Macau, Tibet, and Xinjiang, U.S. Department of State, May 15, 2023, https://www.state.gov/reports/2022-report-on-international-religious-freedom/china/.

[11] “The Uyghur Genocide: An Examination of China’s Breaches of the 1948 Genocide Convention,” Newlines Institute for Strategy and Policy, March 8, 2021, https://newlinesinstitute.org/uyghurs/the-uyghur-genocide-an-examination-of-chinas-breaches-of-the-1948-genocide-convention/?stream=china.

[12] “Uyghur Tribunal Judgment,” Uyghur Tribunal, December 9, 2021, finalized February 20, 2023, https://uyghurtribunal.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/UT_Judgment_E-PDF_activelinks_20Feb2023_FINAL.pdf.

[13] “‘To Make Us Slowly Disappear’: The Chinese Government’s Assault on the Uyghurs,” United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, November 2021, https://www.ushmm.org/genocide-prevention/reports-and-resources/the-chinese-governments-assault-on-the-uyghurs.

[14] “The Uyghur Genocide,” 9.

[15] Louis Charbonneau, “39 Countries at UN Express ‘Grave Concerns’ About China’s Abuses,” Human Rights Watch, October 6, 2020, https://www.hrw.org/news/2020/10/06/39-countries-un-express-grave-concerns-about-chinas-abuses.

[16] “UN Human Rights Office Issues Assessment of Human Rights Concerns in Xinjiang, China” United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner, August 31, 2022, https://www.ohchr.org/en/press-releases/2022/08/un-human-rights-office-issues-assessment-human-rights-concerns-xinjiang.

[17] Isaac Chotiner, “Why Hasn’t the U.N. Accused China of Genocide in Xinjiang?” The New Yorker, September 13, 2022, https://www.newyorker.com/news/q-and-a/why-hasnt-the-un-accused-china-of-genocide-in-xinjiang.

[18] Byler, “Introduction,” xvi.

[19] Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “Who Stands Fast?” The Trinity Forum Reading, 2022, 24–25.

[20] John Kilner Dignity and Destiny: Humanity in the Image of God (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2015), see chapter 1, especially pages 7–17.

[21] “The Uyghur Genocide,” 39.

[22] Gardner Bovingdon, The Uyghurs: Strangers in Their Own Land (New York: Columbia University Press, 2010), ix.

[23] Chin and Lin, Surveillance State, 18.

[24] Bovington, The Uyghurs, 38.

[25] “Minzu (民族),” Xinjiang Documentation Project, The University of British Columbia, accessed August 8, 2023, https://xinjiang.sppga.ubc.ca/chinese-sources/chinese-academic-discourse/minzu-%E6%B0%91%E6%97%8F/.

[26] Chin and Lin, Surveillance State, 19.

[27] James McBride, Noah Berman, and Andrew Chatzky, “China’s Massive Belt and Road Initiative,” Council on Foreign Relations, February 2, 2023, https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/chinas-massive-belt-and-road-initiative. See also Heather Zeiger, “Why China Leans Hard on Central Asia,” Mind Matters News, December 3, 2019, https://mindmatters.ai/2019/12/why-china-leans-hard-on-central-asia/.

[28] I am indebted to Reverend Andrew Cies for helping me think through the Deuteronomy passages.

[29] Adrien Zenz, “Coercive Labor in the Cotton Harvest in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region and Uzbekistan: A Comparative Analysis of State-Sponsored Forced Labor,” Communist and Post-Communist Studies 56, no. 2 (2023): https://doi.org/10.1525/cpcs.2023.1822939.

[30] See my article “In China, Forced Uyghur Labor Produces Many Fashionable Products,” Mind Matters News, March 11, 2021, https://mindmatters.ai/2021/03/in-china-forced-uyghur-labor-produces-many-fashionable-products/.

[31] See my article “Apple’s Supply Chain Includes Forced Labor in China,” Mind Matters News, May 17, 2021, https://mindmatters.ai/2021/05/apples-supply-chain-includes-forced-labor-in-china/.

[32] Mega Rajagopalan, Allison Killing, and Christo Buschek, “Built to Last (Part 1)” BuzzFeed News, August 27, 2020, https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/meghara/china-new-internment-camps-xinjiang-uighurs-muslims.

[33] “FACT SHEET: New U.S. Government Actions on Forced Labor in Xinjiang,” The White House Briefing Room Statements and Releases, June 24, 2021, https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2021/06/24/fact-sheet-new-u-s-government-actions-on-forced-labor-in-xinjiang/.

[34] Most of this and the subsequent section on technology is drawn from research I did for my articles for Mind Matters News. I am indebted to my editor, Denyse O’Leary, and our mutual friend who has helped us with translating Chinese media and explaining cultural differences.

[35] Chin and Lin, Surveillance State, 6.

[36] Tania Branigan, “Ethnic Violence in China Leaves 140 Dead,” The Guardian, July 6, 2009, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2009/jul/06/china-riots-uighur-xinjiang; Isobel Cockerell, “Inside China’s Massive Surveillance Operation,” Wired, May 9, 2019, https://www.wired.com/story/inside-chinas-massive-surveillance-operation/.

[37] Cockerell, “Inside China’s Massive Surveillance Operation.”

[38] Zachary Keck, “Four Things China Learned from the Arab Spring,” The Diplomat, January 4, 2014, https://thediplomat.com/2014/01/four-things-china-learned-from-the-arab-spring/.

[39] Chin and Lin, Surveillance State, 86. See also Anita Chang, “China Tries to Stamp Out ‘Jasmine Revolution,’” Associated Press, February 20, 2011, https://apnews.com/article/technology-africa-china-beijing-shanghai-9dc2ee95692745a0afb29a14c18ace30.

[40] Chin and Lin, Surveillance State, 90.

[41] Cockerell, “Inside China’s Massive Surveillance Operation.”

[42] See Anderson, “The Panopticon Is Already Here” and Chin and Lin, Surveillance State.

[43] Austin Ramzy and Chris Buckley, “‘Absolutely No Mercy’: Leaked Files Expose how China Organized Mass Detentions of Muslims, New York Times, November 16, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/11/16/world/asia/china-xinjiang-documents.html.

[44] “Secret Documents Reveal how China Mass Detention Camps Work,” Associated Press, November 25, 2019, https://apnews.com/4ab0b341a4ec4e648423f2ec47ea5c47.

[45] “China: Big Data Program Targets Xinjiang’s Muslims,” Human Rights Watch, December 9, 2020, https://www.hrw.org/news/2020/12/09/china-big-data-program-targets-xinjiangs-muslims.

[46] “Japan Gave Key Intel on China’s Uyghur Crackdown to U.S. and Britain,” The Japan Times, December 29, 2020, https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2020/12/29/national/china-uighurs-japan-five-eyes/.

[47] Cai, China-US Relations in the Eyes of the Chinese Communist Party.

[48] Rajagopalan, King, and Buschek, “Built to Last (Part 1).”

[49] Scilla Alecci, “The Faces of China’s Detention Camps in Xinjiang,” International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, May 24, 2022, https://www.icij.org/investigations/china-cables/xinjiang-police-files-uyghur-mugshots-detention/.

[50] Mamtimin Ala, Worse than Death: Reflections on the Uyghur Genocide (Lanham, MA: Hamilton Books, 2021), 59–60.

[51] Hannah Nation and Simon Liu, eds., Faith in the Wilderness: Words of Exhortation from the Chinese Church (Bellingham, WA: Kirkdale Press, 2022), 2.

[52] Anderson “The Panopticon Is Already Here.”

[53] See Religion in China a backgrounder report by the Council on Foreign Relations: Eleanor Albert and Lindsay Marzland, Religion in China, Council on Foreign Relations, September 25, 2020, https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/religion-china; and my article “How China’s Technocracy Uses the Pandemic to Suppress Religion,” Mind Matters News, October 18, 2020, https://mindmatters.ai/2020/10/how-chinas-technocracy-uses-the-pandemic-to-suppress-religion/.

[54] Nation and Liu, Faith in the Wilderness, 2.

[55] Cai, China-US Relations in the Eyes of the Chinese Communist Party.

[56] Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1951). See especially Chapter 13.

[57] Timothy Keller, “Justice in the Bible,” Life in the Gospel, Fall 2020, https://quarterly.gospelinlife.com/justice-in-the-bible/.

[58] Keller is quoting from John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, vol. 1, ed. John T. McNeill, trans. Ford Lewis Battles (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2011), III.7.6–7.