Xinjiang monitoring company wins award at Amazon event

With Amazon logo Behind him, as well as the influential figures in Shanghai’s booming venture capital industry, the executives on stage gave speeches. His company, Renwei Electronics, helps Chinese authorities track prisoners and detainees-alerting guards to their movements and even equipping them with heart rate monitors.

Renwei deploys a “smart prison” system in Xinjiang, China, where there are more than one million Muslim minorities Locked.

But this has not prevented the artificial company from being supported by Amazon in the “Joint Innovation Center“November. The organizers of the event provided a platform for Renwei’s executives to deliver “investor roadshow”-style speeches to some of China’s most prestigious investors. Renwei received “Product Innovation Award“, it is recognized as one of the six “Outstanding Entrepreneur Companies”.

A detailed list of issues was sent, and Amazon declined to comment on this record. Renren did not respond to a request for comment.

There is more and more evidence that more and more multinational companies are facing pressure to move their supply chains out of Xinjiang. Mass detention with Compulsory labor There, as part of what the United States and other countries have recently called genocide. Congress is reviewing a bill banning imports from Xinjiang contaminated by forced labor, and US Customs has banned products made from tomatoes and cotton and other commodities in the region.

Amazon Turn off Its e-commerce business in China in 2019, but other parts of its huge empire still work with Chinese customers, including its lucrative cloud computing subsidiary Amazon Web Services.

AWS and Shanghai local government and commercial organizations jointly operate a joint innovation center. According to the center, the center promotes the development of start-ups by providing AWS cloud resources and technical support to start-ups, and helping them acquire talents and comply with government regulations. Event advertisement. It is not clear what benefits (if any) are for man-made companies and other award-winning companies. The center’s website emphasizes that the companies it supports will also benefit from Amazon’s resources and reputation.

Horizon Advisory, a geopolitical consulting firm based in Washington, DC, first noted Renwei’s awards and Amazon events in a research shared with BuzzFeed News.

Artificial technology Already used Among the prisons all over China, including Zhongjiazhuang Prison near Shihezi City.prison Managed by The powerful Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps is a paramilitary and government organization. The United States imposed sanctions on it last year on the grounds that it was related to human rights violations in the region.

Google Earth

Satellite photo of Shawan County Prison

BuzzFeed News used satellite imagery to locate the prison in Shawan County, Xinjiang. Official photos The prison map released in 2016 shows an intricately round front door made of iron, with a lion statue on the left side of the entrance. Behind the gate, there is a road leading to a two-story to three-story building. A white wall and a row of trees ran along this road. The Google Earth image shows the shadow of the gate projected on the ground, a light-colored object about 2.5 meters high (which looks to match the lion statue) and the same things as walls and trees. The roof of the building in the background also matches the photo.

In the past four years, the Chinese government has forced one million Muslim minorities, including Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and Hui Muslims, into large-scale detention camps.Last year’s BuzzFeed news survey Established Since 2017, the government has significantly upgraded its campaign, building hundreds of new compounds marked by detention camps and prisons.Dozens of people were previously detained there description Internal abuse, deprivation and routine humiliation, ranging from overcrowding, lack of food, to beatings and even torture. The government said that the internment camp system was meant to “reform through education” and to provoke extremists.

Government data analyzed by the New York Times show During this time, Xinjiang’s prison population has also surged-in 2017, the region accounted for 21% of the country’s arrests and only 2% of the country’s population. Muslim minorities account for about half of Xinjiang’s population. According to government data, courts controlled by the Communist Party of China convicted more than 99% of the defendants.

Prisons in many parts of the world, including the United States, use data-driven systems to monitor and control prisoners.But in Xinjiang, the government’s election campaign Specifically for Detaining ethnic minorities through religious activities, ties with foreign families, or other behaviors deemed suspicious or threatening to the state.

Renwei description Its system is “an important platform for digital prisons to improve their management capabilities through information technology.” It uses image processing, data encryption, cloud computing and “big data” to establish a “personnel positioning system” that can be monitored remotely. Company says. The data is centralized in a centralized platform, and the competent authority can use it for “management decision-making.”

Ren Wei said that this has improved efficiency and helped prison staff “realize new ideas for pre-emptive prevention, control during incidents, and post-event verification.” Ren Wei said that the early warning system sends signals to notify the police when they are attacked and detained. When do they enter the area where they are prohibited. Prisoners can be equipped with electronic devices to monitor their heart rate and other vital signs to “reduce the risk of law enforcement.” Ren Wei said the system helps prevent people from escaping or committing suicide.

High-tech surveillance is a hallmark of life in refugee camps and prisons in Xinjiang.More than twenty people previously detained there Tell BuzzFeed News They are monitored in real time by cameras placed in the corner of the cell or even in the bathroom. The guard can impose subtle punishments on them, such as speaking their mother tongue instead of Mandarin.

Ren Wei has also been recognized by the Ministry of Public Security, China’s domestic security agency. The company participated in the department’s publicity meeting, and the department’s deputy minister and other government officials attended the meeting.

Amazon Joint Innovation Center / Via

At the Amazon event on November 16, 2020, executive Ren Wei stepped onto the stage

In addition to Shanghai venture capitalists, the audience on November 16, 2020 Amazon events Including executives from multinational giants such as Siemens and KONE Elevator, According to the press release About the event.

On the stage, Ren Wei executives spent about 11 minutes browsing the PowerPoint presentation, which traversed all aspects of the business and pointed out that the system can be used not only in prisons, but also in detention centers. Finally, he looked at the investors and asked their questions. ?

April 20, 2021, 19:55 PM

correct: An early version of the post incorrectly pointed out that human executives on stage thanked the Shanghai-Amazon Joint Innovation Center for their support.

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