Xinjiang Surveillance Company Wins Amazon Event Award

With the Amazon logo Behind him and lights from the burgeoning scene of Shanghai’s capital in front of him, the stage executive delivers his tone. His company, Renwei Electronics, is helping Chinese authorities track down detainees and detainees – warning guards of their actions and also targeting them with heart rate monitors.

Renwei has set up the “smart prison” system in China’s Xinjiang region, where more than 1 million Muslim minorities locked.

Although this did not preclude a warm welcome for Renwei at an event hosted by a back-Amazonjoint center of innovation”In November. The event’s organizers provided a platform for Renwei’s executive to give an “investor road show” –words in the style of some of China’s most famous investors. And Renwei received a “product innovation award”Recognizing it as one of six“ famous business companies. ”

Sending out a detailed list of questions, Amazon declined to comment on the record. Renwei did not respond to a request for comment.

A growing list of multinational corporations are under pressure to move their supply chains out of Xinjiang, amid growing evidence of mass detention and forced labor there, as part of what the U.S. and other nations call genocide. Congress is considering a bill banning imports from Xinjiang tainted by forced labor, and U.S. customs already ban products made from tomatoes and cotton in the region, among other products.

Amazon healing its e-commerce business in China in 2019, but other parts of its expanding empire are still working with Chinese customers, including cloud computing’s most profitable subsidiary, Amazon Web Services.

AWS runs the joint innovation center of Shanghai local government and business organizations. The center nurtures startups by providing them with AWS cloud resources and tech support, and helping them acquire talent and comply with government regulations, according to an ad for the event. It is unclear what benefits, if any, Renwei and other companies that have won the awards have received. The center’s website emphasizes that the companies it supports have also benefited from Amazon’s origins and reputation.

Horizon Advisory, a geopolitical advisory firm based in Washington, DC, first made a note of Renwei’s award and Amazon’s research event it shared with BuzzFeed News.

Renwei’s technology already used in prisons throughout China, including Zhongjiazhuang Prison, located near Shihezi town. The prison managed by the powerful Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, a paramilitary and governmental organization that the U.S. imposed sanctions on last year, citing its link to human rights abuses in the region.

Google Earth

A satellite photo of the Shawan County jail

BuzzFeed News located the prison in Shawan County in Xinjiang using satellite image. An official photo the prison posted in 2016 features a round gate in front of detailed ironwork and a lion statue to the left of the entrance. Behind the gate, a path leads to a two- to three -story building. A white wall and a row of trees run along the side of the road. A Google Earth image shows the shadow of the gate thrown to the ground, a colorful object about 2.5 meters high that looks similar to the lion statue, and the same east-west wall and line of trees. The roof of the building at the back also corresponds to the photo.

The Chinese government has forced one million Muslim minorities, including Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Hui Muslims, and others into camps to have entered the masses over the past four years. An investigation by BuzzFeed News last year found significantly the government has stepped up its campaign since 2017, building hundreds of new compounds bearing signs in internment camps and prisons. Dozens of people had previously been detained there CEBU abuse, deprivation, and habitual degradation, from overcrowding and lack of food to beatings and even torture. The government says the internment camp system is for “change through education,” and to discredit extremists.

Government data reviewed by the New York Times showed that Xinjiang’s prison population is also booming at this hour-the region has 21% of the country’s total arrests for only 2% of the population in 2017. The Muslim minority makes up half of the population in Xinjiang. Chinese Communist Party -controlled courts have convicted more than 99% of the accused, according to government data.

Prisons in many parts of the world, including the United States, use data -driven systems to monitor and control inmates. But in Xinjiang, the government campaign specific targets ethnic minorities by arresting them for religious acts, family connections abroad, or other conduct seen as suspicious or threatening to the state.

Renwei describes its system as “an essential platform for digital prisons to improve their management skills through information technology.” It uses image processing, data encryption, cloud computing, and “big data” to set up a “personnel placement system” that can be tracked remotely, says the company. The data is stored on a centralized platform that can be used by authorities for “management decision making.”

Renwei said it improves efficiency, and helps prison staff “achieve new ideas on preemptive prevention, mid-incident control and post-incident verification. An early start. warning system notifies when police are attacked, Renwei said, and when detainees enter areas restricted to them.Inmates may have electronic devices that monitor their heart rate and other vital signs. sign to “reduce law enforcement risk.” The system can help prevent people from escaping or killing themselves, according to Renwei.

High-tech surveillance is a hallmark of life in camps and prisons in Xinjiang. More than two dozen people have previously been detained there told BuzzFeed News that they are monitored in real time with cameras placed in the corners of their cells and even in bathrooms. They can be punished by the guards for minor offenses, such as speaking their native language instead of Mandarin Chinese.

Renwei also received recognition from China’s domestic security service, the Ministry of Public Security. The company was featured at the conference promoting the service which was attended by the vice minister of the department and other government officials.

The Amazon Joint Innovation Center / Via

Renwei executives at the Amazon event stage on November 16, 2020

In addition to the daring capitalists in Shanghai, the audience on November 16, 2020 Amazon event with executives from multinational giants such as Siemens and Kone Elevators, according to a press release about the event.

On stage, the Renwei executive spent about 11 minutes going through a PowerPoint presentation walking through every aspect of the business, knowing that the system could be used not only in prisons, but also in prison centers. detention. Finally, he looked at the investors and asked their questions. ●

April 20, 2021, at 19:55 PM

Correction: An earlier version of this post erroneously stated that the Renwei executive on stage thanked the Shanghai-Amazon Joint Innovation Center for its support.

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