The Godfather, Part 100, China edition


Chen Quanguo, the official directing China’s clampdown in its restive Xinjiang region, has emerged as a pioneer of aggressive policing techniques—setting the tone for the country’s shift toward harsher, technology-driven authoritarian rule.

As Communist Party chief for Xinjiang for the past 2½ years, Mr. Chen has created a policing regime unmatched in scale and sophistication. He brought some of his techniques from earlier provincial posts, including in Tibet, and expanded them with new technology and tactics.

He installed thousands of high-tech police stations throughout Xinjiang and tapped big data to enforce order and monitor citizens. Police use hand-held devices to scan photos, messages and other data in residents’ mobile phones, searching for sensitive material. Many ethnic Uighurs and other Muslims are forced into camps to undergo political indoctrination, aimed at assimilating them with the country’s Han Chinese majority.

China’s treatment of Uighurs has drawn an international outcry. At the same time, some of Mr. Chen’s methods have filtered to other parts of the country, amid President Xi Jinping’s efforts to reassert Communist Party dominance over Chinese society.

In an aggressive attempt at social engineering, Xinjiang authorities have run more than a million people—chiefly Uighurs—through re-education camps, according to academics and activists. Former detainees say they were forced to watch videos about Mr. Xi and the Communist Party, sing patriotic songs and denounce Islam.

Chinese officials have called these camps vocational-training centers that boost local employment and combat extremism, while denying alleged rights abuses in these facilities.

Mr. Chen has also sent more than a million party members and government workers—mostly ethnic Han Chinese—to live with Uighurs and other minorities for weeklong stays in homes, where they monitor families and recommend whom to detain.

Xinjiang authorities have pursued the collection of biometric data, including blood samples, from all residents between the ages of 12 and 65, turning the region of 24 million people into a leader in nationwide efforts to build DNA databases.

Mr. Chen’s security strategies aren’t likely to be replicated in full across China, where officials aren’t similarly confronted with acute religious and ethnic strife. Even so, police have traveled to Xinjiang for study tours and 90-day training exchanges. Other regions have adopted the upgraded police stations and picked up the use of devices that extract data from mobile phones.

So who do you put up against this? The Bozo, The Parping AOC, The Three Delicate Rhodes Scholars, The Reparations Patrol? The tactile nuker? These clowns couldn’t last season one on Gilligan’s Island, let alone against a real Luca Brasi.

One Response to “The Godfather, Part 100, China edition”

  1. feeblemind Says:

    One wonders what percentage of economic drag is created by devoting all those resources and manpower to surveillance and ‘re-education”?

    Furthermore, how much economic drag is created from people being afraid to communicate or having to continually look over their shoulder?

    In my view Xi is applying a huge brake to the Chinese economy.

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