Sunday , 9 May 2021

USCIRF Hearing on Technological Surveillance of Religion in China

Shabtabnews – USCIRF announces a hearing on Surveillance of Religion in China . As during the past two decades, the Chinese government has created an Orwellian surveillance state with an unprecedented ability to gather private information about its citizens. The government has installed hundreds of millions of surveillance cameras across the country, using facial and voice recognition systems to distinguish and track Uyghurs and Tibetans. In addition, authorities have systematically installed cameras in churches to identify and target anyone who attends services. Meanwhile, Chinese censors monitor WeChat and other social media apps for “unauthorized” religious content, while hackers target the phones of religious freedom advocates. China’s exportation of its surveillance technology and repressive model holds dire implications for religious freedom around the world.

As a consequence, in October 2019 and again in May 2020, the U.S. Department of Commerce restricted certain Chinese companies from obtaining advanced U.S. technology and recently warned American businesses about the legal and ethical risks of developing surveillance tools in Xinjiang. While some U.S. companies have begun to reassess the compromises required to conduct business in China, the U.S. government and American businesses can and must do more to protect religious freedom for all.

Witnesses will provide analysis on U.S. export regulations, international human rights standards for tech companies, how China continues to use data analysis to target people of faith, and policy recommendations about how the U.S. government can help the tech sector protect religious freedom.

Opening Remarks

  • Gayle Manchin, Chair, USCIRF
  • Tony Perkins, Vice Chair, USCIRF
  • Anurima Bhargava, Vice Chair, USCIRF

Panel I

  • Cordell Hull, Acting Under Secretary of Industry and Security, U.S. Department of Commerce

Panel II

  • Amy Lehr, Director, Human Rights Initiative, Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Chris Meserole, Deputy Director, Artificial Intelligence and Emerging Technology Initiative, Brookings Institution
  • Sheena Greitens, Associate Professor, Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, University of Texas at Austin
  • Lobsang Gyatso Sither, Digital Security Programs Director, Tibet Action Institute