COVID-19 Myths and Facts

COVID-19 virus can be transmitted in areas with hot and humid climates

From the evidence so far, the COVID-19 virus can be transmitted in ALL AREAS, including areas with hot and humid weather. Regardless of climate, adopt protective measures if you live in, or travel to an area reporting COVID-19. The best way to protect yourself against COVID-19 is by frequently cleaning your hands. By doing this you eliminate viruses that may be on your hands and avoid infection that could occur by then touching your eyes, mouth, and nose.

 

FACT: Coronavirus transmission in hot and humid climates

 

 

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Cold weather and snow CANNOT kill the new coronavirus.

There is no reason to believe that cold weather can kill the new coronavirus or other diseases. The normal human body temperature remains around 36.5°C to 37°C, regardless of the external temperature or weather. The most effective way to protect yourself against the new coronavirus is by frequently cleaning your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or washing them with soap and water.

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Taking a hot bath does not prevent the new coronavirus disease

Taking a hot bath will not prevent you from catching COVID-19. Your normal body temperature remains around 36.5°C to 37°C, regardless of the temperature of your bath or shower. Actually, taking a hot bath with extremely hot water can be harmful, as it can burn you. The best way to protect yourself against COVID-19 is by frequently cleaning your hands. By doing this you eliminate viruses that may be on your hands and avoid infection that could occur by then touching your eyes, mouth, and nose.

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The new coronavirus CANNOT be transmitted through mosquito bites.

To date there has been no information nor evidence to suggest that the new coronavirus could be transmitted by mosquitoes. The new coronavirus is a respiratory virus which spreads primarily through droplets generated when an infected person coughs or sneezes, or through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose. To protect yourself, clean your hands frequently with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. Also, avoid close contact with anyone who is coughing and sneezing.

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Are hand dryers effective in killing the new coronavirus?

No. Hand dryers are not effective in killing the 2019-nCoV. To protect yourself against the new coronavirus, you should frequently clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. Once your hands are cleaned, you should dry them thoroughly by using paper towels or a warm air dryer.

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Can an ultraviolet disinfection lamp kill the new coronavirus?

UV lamps should not be used to sterilize hands or other areas of skin as UV radiation can cause skin irritation.

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How effective are thermal scanners in detecting people infected with the new coronavirus?

Thermal scanners are effective in detecting people who have developed a fever (i.e. have a higher than normal body temperature) because of infection with the new coronavirus.

However, they cannot detect people who are infected but are not yet sick with fever. This is because it takes between 2 and 10 days before people who are infected become sick and develop a fever.

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Can spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body kill the new coronavirus?

No. Spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body will not kill viruses that have already entered your body. Spraying such substances can be harmful to clothes or mucous membranes (i.e. eyes, mouth). Be aware that both alcohol and chlorine can be useful to disinfect surfaces, but they need to be used under appropriate recommendations.

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Do vaccines against pneumonia protect you against the new coronavirus?

No. Vaccines against pneumonia, such as pneumococcal vaccine and Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib) vaccine, do not provide protection against the new coronavirus.

The virus is so new and different that it needs its own vaccine. Researchers are trying to develop a vaccine against 2019-nCoV, and WHO is supporting their efforts.

Although these vaccines are not effective against 2019-nCoV, vaccination against respiratory illnesses is highly recommended to protect your health.

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Can regularly rinsing your nose with saline help prevent infection with the new coronavirus?

No. There is no evidence that regularly rinsing the nose with saline has protected people from infection with the new coronavirus. 

There is some limited evidence that regularly rinsing nose with saline can help people recover more quickly from the common cold. However, regularly rinsing the nose has not been shown to prevent respiratory infections.

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Can eating garlic help prevent infection with the new coronavirus?

Garlic is a healthy food that may have some antimicrobial properties. However, there is no evidence from the current outbreak that eating garlic has protected people from the new coronavirus.

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Does the new coronavirus affect older people, or are younger people also susceptible?

People of all ages can be infected by the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV). Older people, and people with pre-existing medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease) appear to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the virus. 

WHO advises people of all ages to take steps to protect themselves from the virus, for example by following good hand hygiene and good respiratory hygiene.

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Are antibiotics effective in preventing and treating the new coronavirus?

No, antibiotics do not work against viruses, only bacteria.

The new coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a virus and, therefore, antibiotics should not be used as a means of prevention or treatment.

However, if you are hospitalized for the 2019-nCoV, you may receive antibiotics because bacterial co-infection is possible.

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Are there any specific medicines to prevent or treat the new coronavirus?

To date, there is no specific medicine recommended to prevent or treat the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

However, those infected with the virus should receive appropriate care to relieve and treat symptoms, and those with severe illness should receive optimized supportive care. Some specific treatments are under investigation, and will be tested through clinical trials. WHO is helping to accelerate research and development efforts with a range or partners.

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Rolling updates on coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

Rolling updates on coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

Updated 23 March 2020

 
Credits
 
 

Summary

 

• A pneumonia of unknown cause detected in Wuhan, China was first reported to the WHO Country Office in China on 31 December 2019.

• WHO is working 24/7 to analyse data, provide advice, coordinate with partners, help countries prepare, increase supplies and manage expert networks.

• The outbreak was declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on 30 January 2020.

• The international community has asked for US$675 million to help protect states with weaker health systems as part of its Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan.

• On 11 February 2020, WHO announced a name for the new coronavirus disease: COVID-19.

• To stay up to date, follow @DrTedros and @WHO on Twitter, read WHO’s daily situation reports and news releases, and watch our regular press conferences.

 

WHO and FIFA team up on campaign to kick out coronavirus

23 March 2020

WHO and FIFA launched the “Pass the message to kick out coronavirus” campaign, led by world-renowned footballers. The campaign promotes five key steps for people to follow to protect their health in line with WHO guidance, focused on hand washing, coughing etiquette, not touching your face, physical distance and staying home if feeling unwell.

“We need teamwork to combat the coronavirus,” said FIFA President Gianni Infantino. “FIFA has teamed up with WHO because health comes first. I call upon the football community worldwide to join us in supporting this campaign to pass the message even further. Some of the greatest players to have played the beautiful game have put their names to the campaign and are united in their desire to pass the message to kick out COVID-19.”

Twenty-eight players are involved in the video campaign, which is being published in 13 languages.

 

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

 

@DrTedros

 
 

Pleased to launch “Pass the message: 5 steps to kicking out ” campaign, together with @FIFAcom Gianni Infantino & @Alissonbecker. I thank them for their active involvement in passing the message against the pandemic since the very beginning!

 

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Key materials:

Video: Pass the message: Five steps to kicking out coronavirus

News release: Pass the message: Five steps to kicking out coronavirus – with social tiles

WHO Director-General’s opening remarks at the media briefing on COVID-19 – 23 March 2020

Youtube recording of media briefing

Video clips for broadcasters 

WHO Health Alert for coronavirus launches on WhatsApp 

20 March 2020

To increase access to reliable information, WHO worked with WhatsApp and Facebook to launch a new WHO Health Alert messaging service today. The WhatsApp-based service will provide vital information about COVID-19 to millions of people through their mobile phones. The services uses an AI chatbot to provide updated information on the pandemic, including how to protect yourself, questions and answers, and the latest news and press coverage. The Health Alert service is now available in English and will be introduced in other languages next week. This is part of WHO’s wider initiative to work with technology companies to get accurate health information into the hands of people that need it at this critical time.

 

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

 

@DrTedros

 
 

I am proud to announce that today we launched a new @WHO Health Alert messaging service via @WhatsApp. This service will provide the latest news & information on , including details on symptoms and how to protect yourself. To subscribe, click here http://bit.ly/who-covid19-whatsapp 

 
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Key materials:

News release 

Link to receive messages from the WHO Health Alert on WhatsApp

 

Young people “are not invincible” 

20 March 2020 

Speaking at the COVID-19 media briefing, the Director-General said: 

“Although older people are the hardest hit, younger people are not spared.

Data from many countries clearly show that people under 50 make up a significant proportion of patients requiring hospitalization.

Today, I have a message for young people: you are not invincible. This virus could put you in hospital for weeks, or even kill you.

Even if you don’t get sick, the choices you make about where you go could be the difference between life and death for someone else.

I’m grateful that so many young people are spreading the word and not the virus.”

 

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

 

@DrTedros

 
 

Young people are not invincible from . The could put you in hospital for weeks, or even kill you. Even if you don’t get sick, the choices you make about where you go could be the difference between life and death for someone else. https://twitter.com/WHO/status/1241049912017588225?s=20 

 

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World Health Organization (WHO)

 

@WHO

Replying to @WHO

“I’m grateful that so many young people are spreading the word & not the virus. Solidarity is the key to defeating #COVID19 – solidarity between countries, but also between age groups.
Thank you for heeding our call for solidarity, solidarity, solidarity”-@DrTedros #coronavirus

 
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Key materials:

WHO Director-General’s opening remarks at the media briefing on COVID-19 – 20 March 2020

Youtube recording of media briefing

Video clips for broadcasters

 

#AskWHO on disability considerations during COVID-19 

19 March 2020 

The impact of COVID-19 is “felt by different groups in different ways”. 

Expert Lindsay Lee emphasises that everyone has a critical role to play to protect people with disability during the COVID-19, in her #AskWHO public Q&A session. 

 

World Health Organization (WHO)

 

@WHO

 
 

on disability considerations during . https://www.pscp.tv/w/cUIJiTI2MTAyMHwxa3ZLcFhwdmx2a0tF3Og-3wD1ha8JMU77kvr3NHxRwkCF0kvOjIbMLC-KLlE= 

Who @WHO

#AskWHO on disability considerations during #COVID19. #coronavirus

pscp.tv

 
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Key materials:

Periscope recording of the #AskWHO on disability considerations during COVID-19 

 

 

UN Secretary-General calls for solidarity, hope and political will

19 March 2020 

The coronavirus pandemic is a crisis unlike any in the UN’s 75-year history. 

During his press briefing on COVID-19, UN Secretary-General António Guterres asked world leaders to come together and offer an urgent and coordinated global response.

 

Key materials:

YouTube recording of the press briefing 

 

 

WHO Regional Office for Africa holds joint COVID-19 media briefing with World Economic Forum 

19 March 2020 

Speakers included Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa and WHO Country Representatives Dr Lucile Imboua-Niava (Senegal) and Dr Owen Kaluwa (South Africa). 

Many questions remain about how the pandemic will evolve in Africa. Of particular concern is the potential vulnerability of the roughly 26 million people living with HIV, and the 58 million children with malnutrition on the continent. 

 

 

Dr Matshidiso Moeti

 

@MoetiTshidi

 
 

briefing moderated by @wef earlier today. This is one of the biggest health challenges Africa has faced in a generation. Adopting approaches which are adaptable to the African context is key to containing the spread.

 

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Launch of SOLIDARITY trial 

18 March 2020

WHO and partners are launching an international clinical trial that aims to generate robust data from around the world to find the most effective treatments for COVID-19. The SOLIDARITY trial provides simplified procedures to enable even overloaded hospitals to participate. 

 

Soumya Swaminathan

 

@doctorsoumya

 
 

Research and development is an important part of our response @WHO https://www.who.int/dg/speeches/detail/who-director-general-s-opening-remarks-at-the-media-briefing-on-covid-19—18-march-2020 

WHO Director-General’s opening remarks at the media briefing on COVID-19 – 18 March 2020

who.int

 
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Key materials:

WHO Director-General’s opening remarks at the media briefing on COVID-19 – 18 March 2020

Periscope recording of the media briefing

Video clips for broadcasters

 

 

More than 320 000 learners enrol in online COVID-19 courses 

18 March 2020

Real-time training during global emergencies is critical for effective preparedness and response. 

The OpenWHO Massive Online Open Courses for COVID-19 provide learning resources for health professionals, decision-makers and the public. More than 320 000 learners have already enrolled.

As the pandemic continues to evolve, new resources will be added, additional language versions will continue to be rolled out, and existing courses will be updated to best reflect the changing context.

Courses include: 
Operational Planning Guidelines to Support Country Preparedness and Response

Infection Prevention and Control

Acute Respiratory Infections (ARIs) and basic hygiene measures to protect against infection

Clinical Care Severe Acute Respiratory Infection

Emerging respiratory viruses, including COVID-19: methods for detection, prevention, response and control

 

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

 

@DrTedros

 
 

The Massive Online Open Course at http://OpenWHO.org  has now over 323,000 enrollments for courses. This platform was developed in 2017 as part of pandemic preparedness together with the “managing epidemic” handbook. https://openwho.org/channels/covid-19 

Welcome to OpenWHO

OpenWHO is WHO’s new interactive, web-based, knowledge-transfer platform offering online courses to improve the response to health emergencies. OpenWHO enables the Organization and its key partners…

openwho.org

 
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More information: 

Managing epidemics: key facts about major deadly diseases

 

WHO calls for urgent, aggressive actions to combat COVID-19, as cases soar in South-East Asia Region

17 March 2020

The World Health Organization today called on Member states in South-East Asia Region to urgently scale-up aggressive measures to combat COVID-19, as confirmed cases cross 480, and the disease claims eight lives.

Key Materials

Press release

 

New guidance on people affected by humanitarian crises 

17 March 2020

To avoid the neglect and stigmatization of individuals in groups such as asylum seekers, internally displaced people and refugees, this interim guidance outlines ‘Scaling-up COVID-19 Outbreak in Readiness and Response Operations in Camps and Camp-like Settings’. 

WHO jointly developed the guidance with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). 

 

World Health Organization (WHO)

 

@WHO

 
 

NEW: guidance on preparedness & response in humanitarian situations incl. in camp & camp-like settings https://bit.ly/2Wv68oY 

 

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#TogetherAtHome online concert series starts 

16 March 2020 

Chris Martin played a mini gig at home to kick off #TogetherAtHome, a virtual no-contact concert series that aims to promote physical distancing and taking action for global health, presented by WHO and Global Citizen. More Solidarity Sessions are planned to promote health, to show support for people who are staying at home to protect themselves and others from COVID-19, and to encourage donations to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.

 

 
 
 
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Chris played a mini gig at home earlier today on IG Live. @glblctzn @WHO @JohnLegend #TogetherAtHome

A post shared by Coldplay🌙☀️ (@coldplay) on 

 

 

Key materials:

Instagram video of Coldplay #TogetherAtHome session

COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund

 

 

“You cannot fight a fire blindfolded.” 

16 March 2020

Countries should test every suspected case of COVID-19.

If people test positive, they should be isolated and the people they have been in close contact with up to 2 days before they developed symptoms should be sought out, and those people should be tested too if they show symptoms of COVID-19. 

WHO also advises that all confirmed cases, even mild cases, should be isolated in health facilities, to prevent transmission and provide adequate care.

But we recognize that many countries have already exceeded their capacity to care for mild cases in dedicated health facilities.

In that situation, countries should prioritize older patients and those with underlying conditions.

 

World Health Organization (WHO)

 

@WHO

 
 

“We have a simple message for all countries:
test
test
test.

Test every suspected case.

If they test positive, isolate them & find out who they have been in close contact with up to 2 days before they developed symptoms & test those people too”-@DrTedros

 
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Key materials:

WHO Director-General’s opening remarks at the media briefing on COVID-19 – 16 March 2020

Full video of Press Conference – 16 March 2020

Video clips for broadcasters

 

 

 

WHO Mission to Iraq covers detection and response 

15 March 2020

The mission, which comprised experts from the Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office and from WHO headquarters in Geneva, held a series of meetings with national health authorities to identify the disease detection dynamics and at-risk populations, in addition to providing guidance on strengthening response and control measures.

The mission also reviewed the Ministry’s overall readiness to deal with a potential increase in case reporting and the priority of establishing an Emergency Operation Centre to speed up action now that the disease has been announced as a global pandemic.

 

WHO Iraq

 

@WHOIraq

 
 

Head of @WHOEMRO team of experts Dr. Rana Hajja held a joint press conference with the MOH minister tdy. Dr Hajjih stressed the collective responsibility for containing the spread of the virus by protecting ourselves, families, and the community. https://bit.ly/33dwKvS 

View image on Twitter
 
See WHO Iraq’s other Tweets

 

 

Key materials:

News release  

Video clip from MOH and mission press conference 

 

Launch of #SafeHands Challenge 

13 March 2020 

WHO launched the #SafeHands Challenge to promote the power of clean hands fo fight the coronavirus.

To support the challenge to encourage people to clean their hands with soap or alcohol-based hand rub, Twitter created a new #HandWashing emoji. 

Heads of State, footballers, singers and more have already taken part, with more people nominated to join the challenge every day. 

 

 

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

 

@DrTedros

 
 

There are several measures you can take to protect yourself from . One of the most important ones is regular & safe hand hygiene. Here are the steps recommended by @WHO 👇
Show the 🌍 where and how you wash your hands. Join the WHO challenge!

 

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Europe becomes epicenter of the pandemic

13 March 2020

Europe now has more reported cases and deaths than the rest of the world combined, apart from China.

More cases are now being reported every day than were reported in China at the height of its epidemic.

 

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

 

@DrTedros

 
 

5,000 people have lost their lives to – this is a tragic milestone.
Europe has now become the epicenter of the pandemic, with more reported cases and deaths than the rest of the world combined, apart from China. https://twitter.com/WHO/status/1238493078756798464 

World Health Organization (WHO)

 

@WHO

 

Media briefing on #COVID19 with @DrTedros. #coronavirus https://www.pscp.tv/w/cTpSLjI2MTAyMHwxTHl4Qk5sWk9BeXhOII8cGgvkuf7TSY7b9Ssr0WoG-dD1Wwrre_lIiIoKG5g= 

 
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Key materials:

WHO Director-General’s opening remarks at the media briefing on COVID-19 – 13 March 2020

Periscope reading of press briefing

Video for broadcasters 

 

Updated clinical guidance 

13 March 2020

 

World Health Organization (WHO)

 

@WHO

 
 

Updated clinical guidance covers:
🔹Early case recognition
🔹Guidance for care of children, pregnant women, adults & older people
🔹Managing cases
🔹Infection prevention & control
🔹Sample collection & an update on investigational therapeutics
👉http://bit.ly/2QhIkkB 

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Key materials 

Interim guidance: Clinical management of severe acute respiratory infection when novel coronavirus (nCoV) infection is suspected

 

 

WHO, UN Foundation and partners launch first-of-its-kind COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund

13 March 2020

A new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Solidarity Response Fund will raise money from a wide range of donors to support the work of the World Health Organization (WHO) and partners to help countries respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The fund, the first-of-its-kind, enables private individuals, corporations and institutions anywhere in the world to come together to directly contribute to global response efforts, and has been created by the United Nations Foundation and the Swiss Philanthropy Foundation, together with WHO. 

 

World Health Organization (WHO)

 

@WHO

 
 

WHO, @unfoundation and partners launch first-of-its-kind Solidarity Response Fund.

More http://bit.ly/COVID19Fund 

 

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Key Materials:

The COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund

Press release

Audio file of press conference – 13 March

WHO Director-General’s opening remarks at the media briefing on COVID-19 – 13 March 2020

 

 

Expert mission to Iran concludes

12 March 2020

A five-day expert mission to Iran with experts from WHO, GOARN partners, Robert Koch Institute in Berlin and the Chinese Center for Disease Control has concluded.

“Everybody in the country is engaged in this response. The right and timely public health measures implemented on [an] adequate scale will make a difference,” said Dr Richard Brennan, WHO Regional Emergency Director for the Eastern Mediterranean Region and mission team lead.

Looking forward, Dr Brennan said more work needs to be done to protect health workers. The mission also held constructive discussions on ways to advance epidemiological data collection and analysis.

 

WHO EMRO

 

@WHOEMRO

 
 

.@WHO mission to IR was impressed w/ sanitariums set up to receive recovering patients & mild cases, when needed. The team has shared recommendations on case management, epidemiological analysis, infection prevention/control & monitoring the overall response.

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Key materials:

News release

 

Azerbaijan welcomes WHO mission

12 March 2020 

During its 5-day mission, a team of WHO experts worked with the national response committee on developing a national preparedness and response plan for COVID-19.

The Government of Azerbaijan is contributing to global efforts to address COVID-19, coordinating with neighbouring countries, and has pledged US$ 5 million to WHO’s strategic preparedness and response plan.

Key materials:

News release

 

 

 

 

WHO characterizes COVID-19 as a pandemic

11 March 2020


Speaking at the COVID-19 media briefing, the WHO Director-General said: 

“WHO has been assessing this outbreak around the clock and we are deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity, and by the alarming levels of inaction.

We have therefore made the assessment that COVID-19 can be characterized as a pandemic.

Pandemic is not a word to use lightly or carelessly. It is a word that, if misused, can cause unreasonable fear, or unjustified acceptance that the fight is over, leading to unnecessary suffering and death.

Describing the situation as a pandemic does not change WHO’s assessment of the threat posed by this virus. It doesn’t change what WHO is doing, and it doesn’t change what countries should do.

We have never before seen a pandemic sparked by a coronavirus. This is the first pandemic caused by a coronavirus.

And we have never before seen a pandemic that can be controlled, at the same time.”

 

World Health Organization (WHO)

 

@WHO

 
 

🚨 BREAKING 🚨

“We have therefore made the assessment that can be characterized as a pandemic”-@DrTedros

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Key materials:

WHO Director-General’s opening remarks at the media briefing on COVID-19 – 11 March 2020

Periscope recording of the press conference

 

 

 

WHO issues schools guidance with UNICEF and IFRC

10 March 2020

WHO, UNICEF and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) outline critical considerations and practical checklists to keep schools safe, with helpful tips for parents and caregivers, as well as children and students themselves. 

 

Henrietta H. Fore

 

@unicefchief

 
 

In coordination with @WHO and @ifrc, we’ve issued guidance for schools, teachers, parents and caregivers for the prevention and control of . https://uni.cf/2W02Ae0 

COVID-19: IFRC, UNICEF and WHO issue guidance to protect children and support safe school operations

unicef.org

 
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Key materials 

News release

Guidance: Key Messages and Actions for COVID-19 Prevention and Control in Schools 

 

 

Mental health and COVID-19

10 March 2020

WHO is providing guidance to help people manage fear, stigma and discrimination during COVID-19.

In the #AskWHO film below, expert Aiysha Malik answers public questions about mental health and preventing stress during the outbreak. 

 

 

World Health Organization (WHO)

 

@WHO

 
 

on mental health during . Ask your questions to our expert Aiysha Malik. https://www.pscp.tv/w/cTY-ZzI2MTAyMHwxT3d4V1Fib1BxREdROZ6uooc45taTXB-0Ctk3yeoVeCEWGCTfN1NXI_jMv3Y= 

Who @WHO

#AskWHO on mental health during #COVID19. Ask your questions to our expert Aiysha Malik.

pscp.tv

 
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Key materials 

Guidance: Mental Health Considerations during COVID-19 Outbreak

#AskWHO Q&A with Aiysha Malik 

 


“The rule of the game is: never give up.”

9 March 2020

“We are not at the mercy of this virus,” said the WHO Director-General at the 9 March media briefing.

All countries must aim to stop transmission and prevent the spread of COVID-19, whether they face no cases, sporadic cases, clusters or community transmission.

“Let hope be the antidote to fear.

Let solidarity be the antidote to blame.

Let our shared humanity be the antidote to our shared threat”

 

 

World Health Organization (WHO)

 

@WHO

 
 

“Now that the has a foothold in so many countries, the threat of a pandemic has become very real.

But it would be the first pandemic in history that could be controlled.

The bottom line is: we are not at the mercy of this virus”-@DrTedros

 
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Key materials:

WHO Director-General’s opening remarks at the media briefing on COVID-19 – 9 March 2020

Periscope recording of the press conference

 

 

Interim guidance on critical preparedness, readiness and response actions

8 March 2020

Drawing on existing materials, this guidance describes the preparedness, readiness and response actions for four different transmission scenarios:

1. No cases

2. Sporadic cases: 1 or more cases, imported or locally detected

3. Clusters of cases in time, geographic location and/or common exposure

4. Community transmission: larger outbreaks of local transmission

 

World Health Organization (WHO)

 

@WHO

 
 

Every country should urgently take all necessary measures to slow further spread and to protect health systems from becoming overwhelmed with patients seriously ill with http://bit.ly/2TvK5ML 

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Key materials

 

Marking 100 000 cases 

7 March 2020 

Marking this sombre moment, WHO reminded all countries and communities that the spread of this virus can be significantly slowed or even reversed through the implementation of robust containment and control activities.

Every effort to contain the virus and slow the spread saves lives. These efforts give health systems and all of society much needed time to prepare, and researchers more time to identify effective treatments and develop vaccines. 

Allowing uncontrolled spread should not be a choice of any government, as it will harm not only the citizens of that country but affect other countries as well. 

We must stop, contain, control, delay and reduce the impact of this virus at every opportunity. Every person has the capacity to contribute, to protect themselves, to protect others, whether in the home, the community, the healthcare system, the workplace or the transport system. 

 

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

 

@DrTedros

 
 

Today for the first time 100 countries are reporting cases. This comes after the 🌍 reached 100,000 cases yesterday. While very serious, this should not discourage us. There are many things everyone, everywhere can and should do now. http://bit.ly/3azVPDK 

 
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Basic protective measures against the new coronavirus

When and how to use masks

Myth-busters

Getting workplace ready

Healthy parenting

 

 

These materials are regularly updated based on new scientific findings as the epidemic evolves. Last updated 18 March 2020

 

Basic protective measures against the new coronavirus

Stay aware of the latest information on the COVID-19 outbreak, available on the WHO website and through your national and local public health authority. Most people who become infected experience mild illness and recover, but it can be more severe for others. Take care of your health and protect others by doing the following:

Wash your hands frequently

Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.

Why? Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on your hands.

Maintain social distancing

Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.

Why? When someone coughs or sneezes they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease.

Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth

Why? Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.

Practice respiratory hygiene

Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.

Why? Droplets spread virus. By following good respiratory hygiene you protect the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu and COVID-19.

If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early

Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority.

Why? National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on the situation in your area. Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also protect you and help prevent spread of viruses and other infections.

Stay informed and follow advice given by your healthcare provider

Stay informed on the latest developments about COVID-19. Follow advice given by your healthcare provider, your national and local public health authority or your employer on how to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.

Why? National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on whether COVID-19 is spreading in your area. They are best placed to advise on what people in your area should be doing to protect themselves.

 

Protection measures for persons who are in or have recently visited (past 14 days) areas where COVID-19 is spreading

  • Follow the guidance outlined above.
  • Stay at home if you begin to feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and slight runny nose, until you recover. Why? Avoiding contact with others and visits to medical facilities will allow these facilities to operate more effectively and help protect you and others from possible COVID-19 and other viruses.
  • If you develop fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical advice promptly as this may be due to a respiratory infection or other serious condition. Call in advance and tell your provider of any recent travel or contact with travelers. Why? Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also help to prevent possible spread of COVID-19 and other viruses.

 

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Uighur and the coronavirus crisis

Don’t forget the Uighur amid the coronavirus crisis

The world has been indifferent to the plight of the Uighurs, leading some to claim that coronavirus may be a punishment.

by

 
 
Men seen praying at the mosque at the Xinjiang Islamic Institute Urumqi, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, China, January 3, 2019 [Ben Blanchard/Reuters]
Men seen praying at the mosque at the Xinjiang Islamic Institute Urumqi, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, China, January 3, 2019 [Ben Blanchard/Reuters]

When a people are subjected to the most unimaginable forms of cruelty at the hands of a brutal regime and prominent world powers are unwilling to take any meaningful steps to stop that cruelty, where and what do they then turn to? When a tragedy strikes the government that abused them, could they be excused for believing it to be divine intervention?

The largest mass atrocity occurring in the world today, unfortunately, speaks to this sad reality. 

The Uighurs and other mostly-Muslim Turkic minorities in China are being subjected to the most brutal forms of oppression and the Chinese government’s so-called “re-education camps” are holding over a million of them out of sight. 

To counter any criticism of its treatment of the Uighurs, China has employed a language of “de-radicalisation” that has been normalised throughout the world by repressive governments to mask their own policies of death and destruction. 

While other groups that suffer under inhumane policies either at the hands of their own governments or others often find themselves championed by a competing force and score some gains while being used as a political football, the Uighurs do not seem to qualify even for that.  

Last month, US President Donald Trump signed a new trade deal with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, bringing the two-year trade war between the two superpowers to an end and making his administration less willing than usual to even mention the gross human rights violations committed by the Asian giant.

While most Muslim minorities oppressed by non-Muslim nations have at times, though decreasingly, received support, charity or at least some lip service from Muslim majority countries, the Uighurs did not get any of that either. 

Days after a group of 22 nations signed a letter addressed to the president of the UN Human Rights Council and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights calling on China to close down its internment camps in Xinjiang, a group of 37 countries, many with overwhelmingly Muslim populations, submitted a similar letter in defence of China’s policies. In the second letter, the signatories expressed their opposition to “politicising human rights” and reiterated China’s defence of what it calls “vocation education and training centers”. 

The greatest explanation for this behaviour, aside from the general decline in all forms of Muslim solidarity, is China’s economic chokehold on the Muslim world. Most Muslim governments who depend politically on the United States for protection, depend on China for their economic survival. Given that Beijing is known for not taking criticism of its human rights record laying down, censoring China over its treatment of Uighurs simply comes at too high an economic cost for most Muslim nations. 

As a result of all this, the world largely remains mute on the plight of Uighurs, with their suffering only being mentioned in occasional news reports by a few media organisations.

In December, as the world continued to turn a blind eye to the plight of the Uighur community, a coronavirus outbreak began in the central Chinese city of Wuhan. In a few months, the deadly virus infected tens of thousands of people in mainland China, killing more than 1,000 people. 

As the epidemic grabbed headlines across the world, and the international community made the outbreak its utmost priority, a debate sparked among Muslims and especially Uighurs: could the outbreak be God’s punishment for China and the world’s horrific treatment of Uighur Muslims? 

Before I write another sentence, I need to emphasise that this article is not an attempt at whataboutery. I am not trying to minimise the deaths of more than 1,000 people or the threat the virus poses to the world.  I’m simply attempting to explain why a growing number of Muslims, and especially Uighurs, are asking whether the outbreak is divine intervention. 

While many have been exposed to this debate solely through social media, I actually had a chance to speak to Uighurs themselves about it. They told me how their family members and loved ones disappeared into China’s internment camps. They told me how they felt utterly abandoned by world powers, especially the Muslim ones. And they admitted to me that when the epidemic started, they felt deep down that it may be divine aid for them. They said they couldn’t help but feel that way even though they know making such a determination is theologically flawed. 

In Islam, God determines what, who, and how he punishes in a way that is only known by him, and to opine on divine intent is to claim access to God’s unique knowledge, which no one can. We also hold that what may be a punishment to some, could be a reward to others.

Some told me that they feel sorry for the Muslims, and innocent people of other religions, suffering in Wuhan, but hope that China would economically and politically collapse for its crimes. And every single Uighur I’ve spoken to have agreed that apathy to tragedy, which they have suffered the most as a result of, is not only un-Islamic but merciless. 

But as we emphasise the un-Islamic nature of such claims and feelings, we should not ignore the injustices that sparked these sentiments in the first place.  

Why are the Uighurs wasting away in internment camps not receiving the same level of support people infected with the coronavirus do? Why does the suffering of the Uighurs receive only a fraction of the media coverage the victims of the epidemic are receiving? Is it only because the virus has the potential to spread across the world and infect others, or is there a more sinister reason why the world does not seem to care about the Uighurs?

So much of what common Chinese people are now experiencing as a result of the outbreak is similar to what the Uighurs have long been experiencing at the hands of the Chinese government.  

Before anyone was quarantined for coronavirus, the Uighurs were quarantined by the Chinese government – first in their homes and neighbourhoods, then in literal concentration camps. 

Before Chinese people were forced to cover their faces with masks due to the virus, hijabs and niqabs were being pulled off the heads and faces of Uighur women. 

Before the coronavirus spread throughout China, putting the freedom, health and wellbeing of millions of innocent people at risk, millions of innocent Uighurs were already being imprisoned, tortured and killed because they had the “virus” of Islam.

And long before the Chinese government was suspected of covering up the number of deaths and confirmed infections to carefully control the narrative about coronavirus, it was covering up its systematic abuse of the Uighur people.

Nevertheless, the same international community that swiftly came together to work to bring an end to the devastation caused by the virus and ease the suffering of its victims, did almost nothing to stop the suffering of the Uighurs.  

The coronavirus epidemic is undoubtedly a horrible tragedy that has caused more than 1,000 deaths in China, and it may cause even more devastation elsewhere in the future. It is no small deal, and our hearts should go out to the families of those left behind as well as people still living with the fear that they or their loved ones may soon catch the virus. We should do everything we can to contain the virus and encourage our leaders to take action to end this crisis as soon as possible. 

But we should also understand the feelings of the Uighurs who are now forced to watch the outpouring of  support, in part, towards the government that abused them. They are simply trying to come to terms with a reality in which their tragedy is ignored but the tragedy of their oppressors remains in the headlines. 

While it is wrong to definitively speak of God’s will in any matter, let alone a devastating disease outbreak indiscriminately affecting millions of people, we can certainly try to understand why Uighurs cannot help but feel that way. 

Also, as we worry about the spread of the virus, we should spare a minute to think how this new tragedy may affect the Uighurs themselves. After all, if the coronavirus was to spread through the closed, cramped camps holding scores of Uighurs, we almost certainly would never learn the full extent of their devastation.  

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.  


ABOUT THE AUTHOR


 

Segway’s newest self-balancing vehicle is an egg-shaped wheelchair

Segway’s newest self-balancing vehicle is an egg-shaped wheelchair

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The S-Pod has a top speed of 24 miles per hour

Images: Segway

Segway’s newest self-balancing vehicle won’t require you to stand up. Dubbed the S-Pod, the new egg-shaped two-wheeler from Segway-Ninebot is meant to let people sit while they effortlessly cruise around campuses, theme parks, airports, and maybe even cities — all of the same places you’d expect to see one of the company’s iconic (if still a bit dorky) stand-up vehicles.

The S-Pod is powered by basically the same gyroscopic self-balancing technology as a traditional Segway. But unlike a traditional Segway, which is driven by leaning forward, backward, and to the sides, the S-Pod is controlled using a little joystick on the right side of the seat. Segway says its self-balancing technology will always keep the chair level and that the two-wheel setup will allow for quick changes in direction even while stopped. (That said, there are three more small wheels visible on the underside of the chair, presumably for moving the S-Pod while its motors aren’t on.)

Segway also says the S-Pod was inspired by the gyrosphere from Jurassic World, though hitting the open-air S-Pod’s whopping top speed of 24 miles per hour may be even more terrifying than being chased by a dinosaur.

The company tells The Verge that the S-Pod will debut in the third quarter of 2020 and that it plans to sell them to the public after that, possibly in 2021. Segway did not say how much the S-Pod will cost, though.

The S-Pod is just one of a number of electric vehicles Segway-Ninebot is unveiling at next week’s annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. In December, the Chinese mobility giant announced a lineup of electric motor scooters and mopeds that will make their debut at the show, and this morning, the company also teased two new e-scooters, one of which uses a sort of kick-powered cruise control technology.

But the S-Pod is something much different. It’s easy to see how Segway-Ninebot may want to turn a vehicle like this into something that doesn’t need to be driven at all, as it seems like it may be easier to automate than the traditional stand-up Segway. Until then, though, expect to see Segway-Ninebot try to make the S-Pod catch on in the same sorts of use cases the traditional Segway did (think mall cops and sightseeing tours) while also offering an option for people who either can’t or don’t want to stand for prolonged periods of time.

India fetes New Year’s Eve with protests over anti-Muslim citizenship law

ASIA PACIFIC / SOCIAL ISSUES

India fetes New Year’s Eve with protests over anti-Muslim citizenship law

REUTERS

 
 

Thousands of Indians ushered in the New Year by demonstrating against a citizenship law despite Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s attempts to dampen protests that have run for nearly three weeks.

The protests have rocked India since Dec. 12, when the government passed legislation easing the way for non-Muslim minorities from neighboring Muslim-majority nations of Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan to gain Indian citizenship.

 

 

Combined with opposition to a proposed national register of citizens, many Indians fear the law will discriminate against minority Muslims and chip away at India’s secular constitution.

The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Citizens’ Register (NRC) are part of the election manifesto of Modi’s ruling Hindu nationalist party.

Protesters had planned at least three demonstrations in New Delhi, including the area of Shaheen Bagh, where hundreds of residents have blocked a major highway for 18 days.

Irshad Alam, a 25-year-old resident of Shaheen Bagh, stood with his 1-year-old in his arm and his wife by his side. He said he’d been participating in the protest every day.

“It’s freezing here,” he said, “But we are still here because we care about this movement.”

More than 200 people gathered in and around a makeshift stage in the Muslim neighborhood chanting slogans and reciting poetry.

Resident Maqsood Alam said protesters were not afraid of a police crackdown.

“We’ve been expecting that every day. But I’ll tell you one thing,” he said. “This crowd here is not afraid of the government. They are ready to give their lives for this movement. We won’t leave here until the government takes back the law.”

Poetry recitals and speeches had been planned by organizers at a protest outside New Delhi’s Jamia Millia University, which was stormed by police in December.

“New Year’s resolution to defend the constitution,” read the schedule for another protest planned in New Delhi, now in the grip of its second coldest winter in more than a century.

Police said they had deployed additional forces in New Delhi on New Year’s Eve, with traffic curbs imposed in some parts of the capital.

“All precautionary measures are in place,” said police official Chinmoy Biswal, who oversees the southeastern part of the city that includes Shaheen Bagh and Jamia Millia University.

“Recently, there have been no incidents. So we hope things will remain fine,” he told Reuters.

In the southern city of Hyderabad, at least two small groups of demonstrators have been organizing flash protests, to skirt police restrictions on larger gatherings.

Typically, half a dozen demonstrators pop up in public places, such as malls and coffee shops, holding up placards and encouraging passersby to join in, a member of one of the groups, which has held 11 protests, told Reuters.

Street-side poetry recitals, stand-up comedy, and music performances are also planned in the financial capital of Mumbai and the eastern city of Kolkata.

But some protests have turned violent, particularly in the populous northern state of Uttar Pradesh, and at least 25 people have been killed in clashes with police since early December.

Initially caught off guard by the scale of the protests, Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has scrambled to douse public anger, with Modi declaring that there had been no discussions on the NRC, contradicting party colleagues.

The BJP is running a campaign to say that the CAA is not discriminatory and is needed to help non-Muslim minorities persecuted in the three neighboring countries.

I CARE ABOUT MUSLIM PERSECUTION. AND SO SHOULD YOU

CHARLES: I CARE ABOUT MUSLIM PERSECUTION. AND SO SHOULD YOU

This first column of the new year should be about resolutions, regrets or reminiscing.

But I can’t, in good conscience, focus on trivial pursuits, or even self-absorbed reflection of my past follies and foibles. We’re entering a new decade (I’m not entertaining any arguments on whether it starts this year or next), but we need to clean up and work on the past one that threatens everyone’s existence.

While we all will have to work together to deal with the reality of climate change — as if one day of 57 degrees followed by a snow day is normal in any way — we also have to acknowledge what happens when one minority group is systematically being threatened, tortured and killed, and voices remain silent, condone the violence, or simply turn away in complicity.

When did Muslims, and their practice of Islam, become the new black? And by new black, I mean the group considered unworthy of any respect, dignity, or peace. When did one of the world’s oldest religions suddenly become marginalized? And why should we care?

If you believe the myths of our American history, you were told this country was founded by people in search of religious freedom. If you have researched more this century about the real first Thanksgiving, the genocide of the indigenous people, the trail of tears, the horror of colonization and slavery (the Civil War wasn’t about states’ rights nor was it Northern Aggression, it was always about the right to enslave human beings), you may also have picked up that the Puritans left their native land because they didn’t believe their country’s religious practices were harsh enough. Calling it religious freedom puts a prettier bow on it, and feeds into our white-washed narrative about freedom.

But our idea of freedom has been an ever-shifting tide, depending on who is in charge.

And our idea of religious freedom has become harsher and uglier.

The current administration was swept into office on a populist wave of fear, ignorance, religious intolerance, and naked racism. Fear that other people were taking something they believe they’re entitled to by birthright, ignorance of other languages, cultures and/or religious practices, and the naked racism that has taught people of European lineage that they should always get the first seat at the table and everyone else exists to serve them. Some of the feeling isn’t conscious. If this is/has always been your norm, you don’t, and maybe even can’t, see the systems and institutions that not only elevate you, but work to keep others in racial and religious minorities down.

The Muslim ban practiced by the current administration may have triggered the worldwide acceptance of hatred and torture of people who practice Islam. But truthfully, this train has been on the track for many years, although people still point to the tragedy of 9/11 as a justifiable reason for hating millions of other strangers.

They choose to ignore the inconvenient truth that the largest group of people responsible for domestic terrorism in this country is overwhelmingly white and male.

When Barack Obama was running for president, one of the “slurs” was that he was a secret Muslim. This wasn’t like people’s worries about John F. Kennedy being Catholic, this was a way of othering him. People who couldn’t acknowledge their discomfort with an African-American man being the leader of the free world, could cling to the fears about his faith as a reason for their prejudice. This may have fed into Muslim becoming the new black.

When stories started surfacing in the last decade about Muslims being tortured or killed in places such as Myanmar, China, and India, those places seemed to be too far away for us to know about, or even care.

But we’ve been here before. In World War II, Jews were systematically rooted out all across Europe and exterminated as the Nazis sought their “Final Solution.” Today’s anti-Semitism illustrates that hatred hasn’t gone away — it’s grown even stronger.

And we all need to see that people of the Islamic faith are also being systematically rooted out and destroyed — with India denying citizenship to its Muslim citizens, China building concentration camps that are thought to house a million Muslim Uighurs, Myanmar’s “ethnic cleansing” of its Rohingya minority, and the travel ban right here in the good ol’ U.S.A. that has separated American Muslims from their families abroad.

So why do I care? It’s not only because I’m Muslim-adjacent with family and friends who practice the faith. It’s not even because we’re seeing more positive images on television, or that when you live in a diverse community, seeing a woman in a hijab is seeing the neighbor, or classmate, or friend wearing the scarf.

It’s because we are all minorities in one way, shape, or form. You might be heavier than most, skinnier than most, shorter, taller, browner, or paler. Maybe you practice a mainstream religion, or you’re an atheist. Maybe you’re a Buddhist, or Wiccan, or evangelical.

Whatever you believe is right for you. It’s not right for everyone. But if you believe your faith should allow you to either participate, or stand idly by, while others are tortured, killed, driven from their homeland, or denied basic human rights, take a long look at what your faith is teaching you. You should care, because we all live on this sphere together. And if we don’t stand up for each other, no one will be around when the gun slowly turns toward you.

 

 

Chinese Document Leaks Provide New Evidence of China’s Persecution of Muslim Uyghurs

 
 

 

uyghur

Protest against the Chinese government’s persecution of Uyghurs.

In November, two documents were leaked detailing chilling evidence of the mass detention and onslaught of violence by the Chinese government against Muslim Uyghurs in the Xinjiang region of China. This series of documents is the most recent evidence revealing this brutal crackdown on Muslim ethnic minorities in the Xinjiang region, where the ruling Communist party has incarcerated millions under the pretext of preventing Islamic extremism in the region.  Muslim Uyghurs consist of numerous ethnic minorities; collectively, they are the most persecuted minority demographic in the region.  

This past July, Japan and the United Kingdom, along with another some 20 nations called out China’s inhumane detention of millions of people belonging to ethnic minorities in the Xinjiang region in a joint letter addressed to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. The intention of the letter was to warn China of international scrutiny for its mass detention of Uyghurs, and the hope is to mount multilateral pressure against China until these abuses cease. These actions have yielded little merit — millions of Muslim Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities remain unjustly and inhumanely incarcerated in Xinjiang. 

China has also continually attempted to cover up the persecution of Uyghurs in Xinjiang. Now, with concrete evidence leaked delineating the human rights violations these Muslim ethnic minorities in China are facing, there is absolutely no reason to ignore the injustices that the Chinese government has committed against ethnic minorities in Xinjiang. 

Recent Leaks

The first of the leaks was a 403 page document obtained by The New York Times. This document includes investigations into local officials, internal speeches by several political leaders including President Xi Jinping, and, most notably, several directives and surveillance notes on prevention of the spread of Islam to other regions of China — one such directive which specifically outlines the control of Ugyhur populations in Xinjiang. 

One of the prominent aspects of this first document obtained by the NYT are some of the ‘secret speeches’ of President Xi Jinping.  The substance of these speeches establishes President Xi and the Chinese Communist Party’s motivations for the initial crackdown on Muslims Uyghurs. In these speeches, Mr. Xi demands a crackdown on Xinjiang, or what he has previously referenced as the “frontline of terror.” 

Weeks preceding Xi’s visit to the area in 2014, several attackers stabbed civilians in Kunming railway station, killing 31 people and injuring 141 more. Another incident occurred as President Xi finished up his tour of the region — three people were killed and 79 more injured in a bombing in Urumqi’s south station. President Xi then, in these secret speeches, called for extreme measures to address the ongoing the violence in Xinjiang, including using “organs of dictatorship” and showing “absolutely no mercy.” 

Muslim Uyghurs have been largely, and unjustly, blamed for the unrest in the area by the Chinese government.  In these secret speeches, Mr. Xi called for the eradication of radical Islam by dictorial means in addition to characterizing the Muslim Uyghur community as extremist.  However, most Muslim Uyghurs are simply practicing Muslims — there is nothing radical about them.  The purpose of these detention centers to prevent “extremism” is clearly unfounded.  

The second document, leaked to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, brought to light more than 24 pages of government documents regarding the mechanisms of the Chinese system of mass-surveillance and predictive policing in the Xinjiang region.  This document also includes the mass detention camp’s operating manual, dating to November 2017.  

These documents bridge China’s mass-surveillance efforts with the incarceration of Muslim Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in the camps in Xinjiang. The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists says that the leak elucidates “the power of technology to help drive industrial-scale human rights abuses.” The leaked document includes four secret briefings about China’s central data collection system, the Integrated Joint Operation Platform (IJOP).  The leak reveals how IJOP, which is used as a policing platform, uses artificial intelligence alongside other surveillance technology to identify and flag swaths of Xinjiang residents for incarceration. Not only has the Chinese government singled out Muslim Uyghurs with this high-tech crackdown on ethnic minorities, but they have also perpetuated a constant state of terror in the Xinjiang region with this mass surveillance and predictive policing. 

The other aspect of this leak, the operating manual, outlines almost two dozen guidelines for running the detention camps, including specifics on how to handle various situations within these mass detention centers, where millions of Uyghur Muslims have been inhumanely incarcerated.  The manual discusses everything from establishing utter secrecy about the camp to methods of indoctrinating its inhabitants and enacting a point-based system to control behavior within the camps. 

Some of the manual guidelines have been violated, like the manual’s call for the camp personnel to preserve the physical health and welfare of the incarcerated Uyghurs.  Testimony of previously incarcerated Uyghurs proves the violation of this section of the guidelines, but most importantly establishes the sheer inhumane conditions of these camps — numerous Muslim Uyghurs, including infants less than a year old, have died due to the hostile condition of the camps. 

This recent leak of government documents outlining the specifics surrounding Chinese persecution of Muslim Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities are crucial as they corroborate the testimony of numerous Uyghurs who have faced these brutal conditions within these terrible camps, and also attest to the veracity of  previous journalistic research that has outlined China’s abuses of human rights in the region.  

China’s Active Cover-Up

The Chinese government has tried to shield the international community from their actions in Xinjiang and has been moving to destroy any evidence of abuses. China is actively covering up its crimes, and consequently, its government has been able to continue terrorizing Uyghurs. However, with these leaks as the latest evidence, there needs to be an urgent and immediate response to the injustices and abuses perpetrated by the Chinese government in Xinjiang. Previous instances of international scrutiny into China has had a true effect. Because of international pushback, like the UN letter, China shifted its stance from previously denying the outright presence of any camps to acknowledging their existence. But it is not enough — China still maintains that these camps are simply vocational training facilities, and denies that this involuntary incarceration of millions of Muslim Uyghurs is an infringement  of human rights. These leaked documents provide evidence of all the abuses and human rights violations that Muslim Uyghurs have faced at the hands of the Chinese government.  International pushback to China is essential as ever, and global action now could prompt change. Muslim Uyghurs have been forced to give up their cultural and religious identities in these inhumane camps, they have been physically and mentally accosted.  These documents prove their struggle and the violation of human rights in Xinjiang.  China’s active cover-up of this atrocious breach of humans rights cannot stand anymore. 

Image Credit: CreativeCommons/Malcsb

‘Why kill our children?’: Blood and tears in an Uttar Pradesh town

‘Why kill our children?’: Blood and tears in an Uttar Pradesh town

A ground report from the region where the highest casualties have been reported in India’s Citizenship Act protests.

Minutes before the police baton fell on his head, Rafeeq Ahmed, 55, had finished making a public appeal on behalf of the authorities. “Please go home peacefully. Do not throw stones,” he announced on a loudspeaker in the Naiza Sarai neighbourhood of Uttar Pradesh’s Nehtaur town, around 1.30 pm on December 20.

He did so even though he thought the appeal was unnecessary. The crowd in the area was hardly large. No formal protest meeting against the Citizenship Act had been organised. About 100 residents of this Muslim-majority town had streamed into the lanes of Naiza Sarai to offer Friday prayers as usual at the local mosque, Ahmed said.

But as he stepped out after the prayers, a police officer spotted him – Ahmed, a municipal contractor, is a well-known figure in the town. The officer asked him to make the public announcement. He obliged.

Then, his eye fell on many men in civilian clothes, armed with batons, standing next to the policemen. “Who are these people in civil dress?” Ahmed asked the officer. He did not get a reply.

Moments later, as he turned into a lane, he heard the first tear gas shell and then a lathi fell on his head. He pressed his hand on his head and felt blood.

“It was a shock,” Ahmed said. “No stones had been pelted, yet the police had launched a lathi-charge.”

The mosque in Naiza Sarai. Credit: Supriya Sharma

Nehtaur, a town with a population of about 50,000, three-quarters of which is Muslim, lies in the district of Bijnor in western Uttar Pradesh. This region has reported the highest casualties in police action anywhere in India ever since nationwide protests against the Modi government’s Citizenship Amendment Act erupted this month.

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The controversial legislation, which was cleared by Parliament on December 11, offers a fast track to Indian citizenship for non-Muslim migrants from three countries. By introducing a religious test for citizenship, many legal experts say it violates India’s secular Constitution.

Besides, among millions of Indian Muslims, the law triggered alarm since Home Minister Amit Shah had repeatedly threatened to prepare a National Register of Citizens by screening everyone in India to identify “illegal migrants”. He has qualified his remarks by stating that Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Christians, Parsis had nothing to worry about this exercise, implying only Muslims did.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi distanced himself from the exercise, but not before 24 people had been killed in protests across the country – 17 of them in Uttar Pradesh alone.

What explains Uttar Pradesh’s extremely high casualties?

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Political sanction for the police violence, Muslims in Nehtaur town are convinced. Two young men died of bullet injuries, two young men are still battling for life in city hospitals, 10 people have been arrested, many have left the town out of fear.

“This, when we did not even protest,” said Mohd Zaid, whose father Rashid Ahmed was the chairman of Nehtaur for 17 years before he died recently. “Not a single protest meeting was held in this town. Imagine, had we protested, what would have been the outcome.”

Blood at the spot where Anas Hussain was killed. Hussain is one of the two people who died of bullet injuries in Bijnor.

Several residents of Naiza Sarai echoed Rafeeq Ahmed’s account. The lathi-charge began unprovoked, they insisted. It was spearheaded by the men in civil dress, they said, speculating that they were members of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and other Hindutva organisations recruited in recent years as “police mitras” – friends of the police.

Once the lathi-charge and tear-gas shelling began, however, young Muslim men clashed with the police – only to find bullets being fired at them.

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But Ram Chandra Singh, the senior sub-inspector in Nehtaur, denied this. He claimed the police action was sparked by violent mobs. And he said the mobs fired back bullets at them. Twenty three policemen were injured, he said. The police told the Indian Express that constable Mohit Kumar and three other policemen including Rajesh Singh Solanki, Station House Officer, Nehtaur police station, suffered bullet injuries.

Scroll.in has seen video footage recorded by a resident that shows the policemen firing from rifles, as one of them shouts an abuse and says: “Kill one or two of them.”

After the firing ceased, residents claim that the police broke into homes. Video footage shows an elderly man being dragged towards a police vehicle by policemen holding lathis and one with a handgun. The chaos is punctuated by the sound of a gunshot.

The police drag an elderly man to their vehicle. Some policemen have lathis, one holds a handgun.

The elderly man was identified as Shamsuddin. “He is paralysed in one leg and can only walk with support,” said his brother Sirajuddin. “The police forcibly entered his house. When they could kick open the door, they broke the knob.” The door still bore the imprint of boot marks.

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“The only reason they targeted his house was because it is right next to the mosque,” said his brother. Shamsuddin’s wife and children have fled the neighbourhood. The family does not know where the police have taken him.

Hundred metres away, another house in the Naiza Sarai was locked. Neighbours said after the police picked up Mohammad Haseen, his wife had left the town. “She literally held the feet of the police, begging them not to take his away, but they did not listen,” a neighbour said.

Further down, a young woman and her mother alleged the police stormed their home, broke the sink, upturned the kitchen, smashed the TV, bent the ceiling fan and stole Rs 50,000 that they had saved for their house front renovation. “They beat us up,” said Mehmooda Khatun, 60, her voice breaking up, “even though we stood with folded hands.”

At the end of the rampage, the police took away Khatun’s son, she said. Forget pelting stones, he had not even stepped out that afternoon to attend the prayers, she claimed. “The police took advantage of the fact that our house is undergoing repairs and does not have a front door. They were able to easily walk in.”

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Her daughter, Nishad Parveen, said: “Even if they wanted to take away my brother, why destroy our house, why steal our money?”

Mehmooda Khatun and her daughter Nishad Parveen allege the police stole their savings before taking away their brother.

A similar account was narrated by another young woman, who did not want to be identified. Incandescent with rage, and inconsolable at the same time, she alleged that the police, in addition to breaking things in the house, cut the pipe of the cooking gas cylinder, threatening to burn down the house. “We will set fire to the house and if you make too much noise, izzat utar denge, we will dishonour you,” she alleged the police told her. Her brother, Kamar Ahmed, too, was taken away, despite the fact that he was unwell.

Kamar Ahmed’s sister and mother, Zarina Khatun, allege the police beat them up and threatened to burn down their home.

All the families were struggling to find out the whereabouts of the men. The police had turned away friends and relatives who had gone to inquire at the police station on their behalf, they alleged.

When Scroll.in visited the police station, no police official was willing to talk about the Friday events in detail. Ram Chandra Singh, the senior sub-inspector, dismissed the allegation that policemen had ransacked homes in Naiza Sarai. When asked about the missing men, all he said: “The families should file a missing person complaint.”

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Scroll.in was able to view the list of 10 people arrested in Nehtaur and sent to Bijnore jail, according to the police. The names of three of the four missing residents of Naiza Sarai were on the list, but not that of Mohammad Haseen. It is not clear whether he had been subsequently released.

The two men who died in Nehtaur on Friday, however, were not from Naiza Sarai. They lived near a market square called the Agency Chowk, where protestors reportedly clashed with the police around 4 pm. The police claim protestors set police vehicles on fire in this area, though many residents vehemently dispute this, alleging the police staged the arson.

One of the dead was Anas Hussain. The 21-year-old had gone to fetch milk for his seven-month-old son, said Arshad Hussain, his father. As he crossed the road, 200 metres from Agency Chowk, where the police had taken position and was firing at some protestors, one of his uncles shouted out a warning. But it was too late: another uncle, standing on the terrace of the house, saw Hussain fall. A bullet had pierced the young man’s left eye.

Risalat Hussain, uncle of Anas Hussain, narrates what he saw on Friday evening.

Hussain may have been the victim of a stray bullet, much like another resident, Om Raj Saini, a farmer who was passing through the area. Wounded in the stomach by a bullet, he is now recovering in a hospital in Meerut.

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In sharp contrast, the family of Mohammad Suleman, 20, are convinced the police shot him at close range. His sisters said he was a hard-working student who used to stay up all night to prepare for the Civil Services Exam. He barely stepped out of home.

In his third year of college, Suleman (left in the photograph) had already started preparing for the Civil Services Exam.

On Friday, Suleman had gone to offer afternoon prayers at the Thana Masjid at Agency Chowk when the police picked him up near a sweet shop, his father and brother said. They claim several eyewitnesses told them this.

Hours later, they found Suleman’s body in another neighbourhood. A bullet had shot through his abdomen, exiting from the back. The police threatened them, took away the body and ensured they were not around at the time of the postmortem, they alleged.

Suleman’s brother Mohammad Salman and father Zahir Hussain allege the police threatened and intimidated them after they found his body.

The police took away the bodies of the young men to Bijnor district headquarters. Next morning, the families were not allowed to bring them back for burial. They were asked to bury them in Bijnor. When neither of the families agreed, the police reluctantly allowed them to bury them in the villages of their relatives, more than 20 km away from Nehtaur.

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“Neither the prime minister nor the chief minister have any children,” said Zahir Hussain, Suleman’s father. “Does that mean they won’t let our children live? Why kill our children?”

[Update: The police on December 23 admitted to the Indian Express that Suleman had been shot by constable Mohit Kumar, but said that this had been done in self defence.]

A relative shows a photograph of Anas Hussain on his smartphone.

With the internet shut down in Bijnor district, many Muslims in Nehtaur expressed concern over their stories not travelling out to the rest of the country. “Unlike Jamia [University], where social media allowed the world to see the police violence instantly, what we have faced is invisible to the world,” said Zaffar Iqbal, a businessman.

Most older residents emphasised the peaceful history of Nehtaur. “We have never clashed with the police,” said Mohammad Sami, a member of the local trade association. “The only time this town saw any [communal] trouble was in 1982, not even after Babri Masjid [was demolished in 1992 by Hindutva mobs].”

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Nearly everyone laid blame for Uttar Pradesh’s high casualties in the Citizenship Act protests on its current political leadership. “When the chief minister of the state is a man who has himself indulged in violent attacks on Muslims, what else would you expect?” said a middle-aged man, referring to chief minister Adityanath.

As evidence for this claim, the residents cited a widely-circulated audio clip in which a voice can be heard over the police wireless system instructing policemen to take “strict action” against the protestors as per the orders of the chief minister. After all, no one had any reason to protest against the Citizenship Act, the voice can be heard saying. Many people in Nehtaur insist the voice is that of the police superintendent of Bijnor district, Sanjeev Tyagi.

Scroll.in could not independently confirm the authenticity of the clip. The police superintendent did not respond to our calls and text message.

Suleman’s sisters, Sheeba Naz and Arshi Naz, say they want justice.

Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+. We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.

Kerala CAA protests: Football stadium chants ‘Azaadi,’ church choir sings in skullcaps and hijabs

Kerala CAA protests: Football stadium chants ‘Azaadi,’ church choir sings in skullcaps and hijabs

For these dissenters, protest is not limited to the streets.

Kalpanthu@KalPanthu
 
 

How a 7s football venue in Kerala turned into a site.

 

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The spate of protests against the Citizenship Act and the NRC appears to be taking on a new form each day, from football stadiums to church choirs. A football stadium in Malappuram, north Kerala, became the site of resistance when crowds began chants of “Azaadi (freedom)” during half-time (video above) on Monday, December 24.

Malappuram is a hub of football in Kerala, known particularly for some 25 annual “sevens football” tournaments it hosts.

Ahammed Shareef@AhammedShareef_
 
 

Azaadi chants across the ground during a local football match in Kerala as a protest against the CAA.

Politics and Football. We loves them both.

 

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The stadium in Othukkungal, which saw the protest at half-time, is also where award-winning sports drama film Sudani from Nigeria was shot. Despite winning the Best Malayalam Film award, the director and crew of the film boycotted the 2019 National Film Awards in protest against the Citizenship Act and the NRC.

Further south in Kerala, at the Saint Thomas Mar Thoma Church in Pathanamthitta region, the youth choir expressed their protest while singing (video below). The female singers dressed in hijabs, and the men dressed in skullcaps to express solidarity with the Muslim community.

The song performed by the choir was set to the tune of Mappilappattu (which means “Muslim song”). “The song was tuned to Mappilappattu and the singers wore skullcaps and hijab to express solidarity in these times,” the vicar, Reverend Varughese Philip, told The Telegraph.

“Even the regular choir songs we presented on Monday addressed the issue over the CAA and the NRC since that was our theme,” added choirmaster Eapen Mathew. “That was our way of expressing solidarity with our Muslim brothers and sisters.”

Jijoy@jijoy_matt
 
 

This is India, no one can stop the unity of our religions. Please see how these youngsters appeared in their X’mas carol service in solidarity with Indian Muslims and protest against CAA&NRC. This was part of their Christmas carol service in Marthoma Church, Kozhenchery, Kerala.

 
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Chandrika will not accept central government advertising

ആണത്വമുള്ള നട്ടെല്ലുള്ള നിലപാട്,ഇങ്ങനെ വേണം മാധ്യമങ്ങൾ

 

ഇന്ത്യ ആരുടേയും സ്വകാര്യ സ്വത്തല്ല,ഓരോ ഇന്ത്യക്കാരന്റെയുമാണ്,ഇവിടെ നിന്നാണ് ഭരണകൂടം ഒരു രാജ്യത്തിനു വേണ്ടി ജീവത്യാഗം ചെയ്ത പിൻതലമുറക്കാരെ ആട്ടിയോടിക്കാൻ ശ്രമിക്കുന്നത്,അതിനെതിരെ ശക്തമായ നിലപാടുമായി ചന്ദ്രിക ദിനപത്രം,ഒരു മാധ്യമം ഭരണഘടന ഉയർത്തിപ്പിടിച്ച തീരുമാനം,കേന്ദ്ര സർക്കാരിന്റെ ഒരു പരസ്യവും ഇനി പ്രസ്ഥീകരിക്കില്ല എന്ന നിലപാടുമായി ശക്തമായ തീരുമാനം എടുത്ത ചന്ദ്രിക തങ്ങളുടെ മാധ്യമ ധർമ്മം സമൂഹത്തിനോടുള്ള കടമ നിർവ്വഹിച്ചിരിക്കുന്നു,ആശംസകൾ ചന്ദ്രിക,ഈ ശക്തമായ നിലപാടിന്,

നമ്മളെ വേണ്ടാത്തവരെ തിരിച്ചും വേണ്ടന്നു വെക്കാൻ നാം തീരുമാനിക്കണം,രാജ്യത്തു ദേശീയ പൗരത്വ ബില്ലിനെതിരെയുള്ള പ്രതിക്ഷേധം ഇന്നും ആളിപ്പടരുന്നു,ഒരു വിഭാഗത്തെ രാജ്യത്ത് നിന്നും ആട്ടിപ്പുറത്താക്കാനുള്ള ശക്തമായ ഗൂഡ തന്ത്രം,കഴിയുന്ന വിധം മനസ്സ് കൊണ്ടെങ്കിലും ജനധിപത്യ മതേതര വിശ്വാസികൾ ഈ പ്രതിക്ഷേധത്തിൽ അണി ചേരണം,ഇന്ത്യൻ ഭരഘടനയുടെ നിലനിൽപ്പിനു വേണ്ടി,ഈ രാജ്യത്തെ മുസ്ലിം വിഭാഗത്തിന് വേണ്ടി,ഈ രാജ്യത്തെ ജനാധിപത്യ സംരക്ഷണത്തിന് വേണ്ടി,ശക്തമായ തീരുമാനം എടുത്ത ചന്ദ്രികക്ക് ഹൃദയത്തിൽ നിന്നും ബിഗ് സല്യൂട്ട്

China just laid out how it wants Google to help it persecute its Muslim minority

It looks like China just laid out how it wants Google to help it persecute its Muslim minority

ALEXANDRA MAOCT 14, 2018, 15:30 IST

google china

A Google sign is seen during the China Digital Entertainment Expo and Conference (ChinaJoy) in Shanghai, China August 3, 2018.Aly Song/Aly Song

  • Chinese regional authorities recently laid out the kind of speech suppression that Google will likely have to facilitate for the country’s persecuted Muslim ethnic minority to launch its new product in China.
  • Regional authorities in China passed new laws on how to crack down on its Uighur ethnic minority, which includes heavy surveillance, policing, and censorship from tech companies.
  • Google has received a lot of backlash from rights activists and even the Trump administration for its China plans.

Chinese regional authorities recently laid out the kind of speech suppression that Google will likely have to facilitate for the country’s persecuted Muslim ethnic minority to launch its new product in China.

Authorities in Xinjiang, a region in western China, on Tuesday, passed new local laws demonstrating how officials should root out banned speech to fight so-called religious extremists.Around 11 million Uighurs, a mostly-Muslim ethnic minority, live in Xinjiang, and are subject to some of the most intrusive surveillance measures in the world, which include being monitored by 40,000 facial recognition cameras across the region, and having their DNA samples and blood types recorded.

Tuesday’s laws made clear that authorities want tech companies to play their part in the surveillance, policing, and silencing of the Uighurs. Beijing justifies its crackdown in Xinjiang – also known to Uighurs as East Turkestan – as a counterterrorism measure, though it’s denied UN inspectors access to the region.

Google could be complicit in this persecution if its secretive plans to launch a censored search engine – codenamed “Project Dragonfly” – become a reality.

china xinjiang uighur phone

Muslim Uighur women on a cellphone in Kashgar, Xinjiang, in April 2002.Kevin Lee/Getty

Article 28 of the new laws orders telecommunications operators to “put in place monitoring systems and technological prevention measures for audio, messages, and communication records” that may have “extremifying information.”

Forms of “extremification,” as laid out in the laws, are vague. They include “interfering” with people’s ability to interact with people of other ethnicities or faiths, and “rejecting or refusing public goods and services.”It’s not entirely clear what they mean, but authorities have detained Uighurs in the past for bizarre reasons like setting their watch to two hours after Beijing time and growing a beard.

According to the laws, when telecommunications companies find content unsatisfactory to the Chinese state, they will also be ordered to “stop its transmission, delete the relevant information, keep evidence, and promptly report the case” to Chinese authorities.

The companies will also have to “assist the public security organs in conducting a lawful disposition,” which likely means giving up users’ personal information – such as their addresses – so Chinese law enforcement can find them.

Sundar Pichai

Google CEO Sundar Pichai.Getty

Google complicit if it enters China

Google is planning to launch a censored version of its search engine in China, which would block out websites and search terms unsavory to the ruling Communist Party – such as human rights, democracy, and religion, The Intercept reported this August, citing leaked documents.

An early prototype of the search engine also showed that Google would link Android users’ searches to their personal phone numbers. This means that individual users could have their online activity easily monitored, and be at risk of detention if Google passed on the data to the Chinese government.

Xi Jinping

China’s President Xi Jinping looks on during a signing meeting with Maldives President Abdulla Yameen at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China December 7, 2017.REUTERS/Fred Dufour/Pool

Chinese tech giants have passed on user data and the contents of private conversations to Chinese law-enforcement in the past. Earlier this year, China’s Ministry of Public Security announced that law-enforcement officers could obtain and use private conversations on WeChat, the popular messaging app, in legal proceedings.Shortly after Google’s China plans were made public, 14 human rights organizations wrote a public letter to Google CEO that said: “Google risks becoming complicit in the Chinese government’s repression of freedom of speech and other human rights in China.”

US Vice President Mike Pence last week slammed Google’s China plans, saying: “Google should immediately end development of the ‘Dragonfly’ app that will strengthen Communist Party censorship and compromise the privacy of Chinese customers.”

china uighur uyghur security checkpoint police

tability is a blessing, Instability is a calamity, Yarkand, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, China on September 20, 2012 in Yarkand, China.Eric Lafforgue/Art in All of Us/Corbis via Getty Images

Tech companies already play a huge part in China’s police state

Earlier this year Yuan Yang, the Financial Times’ tech correspondent in Beijing, reported that state officials had accessed her private messages on WeChat without her knowledge or permission. A police officer randomly cited messages she had posted in a private chat, she said.

Similarly, Chinese police visited the mother of Shawn Zhang, a law student in Canada, in China after Zhang criticized Chinese President Xi Jinping on social media.

“I also didn’t expect police to respond so quickly. It suggests my social media account is probably under their close monitoring. They will read everything I say,” Zhang told Business Insider earlier this year.

Xinjiang

An ethnic Uyghur man adjust his traditional hat called a doppa as he talks with others at a teahouse on July 1, 2017 in the old town of Kashgar, in the far western Xinjiang province, China.Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

Chinese authorities have also forced many Uighurs to download an app that scans photos, videos, audio files, ebooks, and other documents.

The app, named Jingwang (“cleansing the web” in Mandarin Chinese), extracts information including the phone number and model, and scours through its files, the US government-funded Open Technology Fund reported.The screenshots below show what the app looks like. The grab on the left shows Jingwang prompting users to delete “dangerous content” on their phone, while the one on the right shows the app’s access.

jingwang alert and access

The screengrab on the left shows Jingwang prompting users to delete &quotdangerous content” on their phone, while the one on the right shows the app’s access.Jingwang Weishi/Open Technology Fund

The type of regime Google is getting into bed with

Rights groups have accused China of imprisoning up to 1 million Uighurs in detention or re-education camps, where people have described being shackled to chairs, beaten up, and forced to sing patriotic songs in order to get food.

The new Xinjiang laws formalized the use of those camps despite Beijing’s previous claims that they did not exist.

China also appears to be creating a global registry of the Uighur diaspora, even if they are citizens of other countries. Multiple Uighurs living overseas have reported threats made directly to them or their family members in China if they did not give up personal data such as license plate numbers and bank details.

If Google sets up a base in China, it won’t just be party to Uighur abuses, either. China has a track record of publicly disappearing its critics, placing innocent family members under house arrest, and barging into people’s homes to interrupt their phone calls.

Data leak reveals how China ‘brainwashes’ Uighurs in prison camps

Data leak reveals how China ‘brainwashes’ Uighurs in prison camps

 
Media caption“An electric baton to the back of the head” – a former inmate described conditions at a secret camp to the BBC

Leaked documents detail for the first time China’s systematic brainwashing of hundreds of thousands of Muslims in a network of high-security prison camps.

The Chinese government has consistently claimed the camps in the far western Xinjiang region offer voluntary education and training.

But official documents, seen by BBC Panorama, show how inmates are locked up, indoctrinated and punished.

China’s UK ambassador dismissed the documents as fake news.

The leak was made to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), which has worked with 17 media partners, including BBC Panorama and The Guardian newspaper in the UK.

The investigation has found new evidence which undermines Beijing’s claim that the detention camps, which have been built across Xinjiang in the past three years, are for voluntary re-education purposes to counter extremism.

About a million people – mostly from the Muslim Uighur community – are thought to have been detained without trial.

The leaked Chinese government documents, which the ICIJ have labelled “The China Cables”, include a nine-page memo sent out in 2017 by Zhu Hailun, then deputy-secretary of Xinjiang’s Communist Party and the region’s top security official, to those who run the camps.

 

The instructions make it clear that the camps should be run as high security prisons, with strict discipline, punishments and no escapes.

A Uighur man studying at a camp
Image captionThe Chinese government says the camps are for voluntary re-education

The memo includes orders to:

  • “Never allow escapes”
  • “Increase discipline and punishment of behavioural violations”
  • “Promote repentance and confession”
  • “Make remedial Mandarin studies the top priority”
  • “Encourage students to truly transform”
  • “[Ensure] full video surveillance coverage of dormitories and classrooms free of blind spots”

The documents reveal how every aspect of a detainee’s life is monitored and controlled: “The students should have a fixed bed position, fixed queue position, fixed classroom seat, and fixed station during skills work, and it is strictly forbidden for this to be changed.

“Implement behavioural norms and discipline requirements for getting up, roll call, washing, going to the toilet, organising and housekeeping, eating, studying, sleeping, closing the door and so forth.”

Text from leaked official Chinese memo on detention of Uighur people
Text from leaked official Chinese memo on detention of Uighur people
Text from leaked official Chinese memo on detention of Uighur people

Other documents confirm the extraordinary scale of the detentions. One reveals that 15,000 people from southern Xinjiang were sent to the camps over the course of just one week in 2017.

Sophie Richardson, the China director at Human Rights Watch, said the leaked memo should be used by prosecutors.

“This is an actionable piece of evidence, documenting a gross human rights violation,” she said. “I think it’s fair to describe everyone being detained as being subject at least to psychological torture, because they literally don’t know how long they’re going to be there.

The memo details how detainees will only be released when they can demonstrate they have transformed their behaviour, beliefs and language.

“Promote the repentance and confession of the students for them to understand deeply the illegal, criminal and dangerous nature of their past activity,” it says.

“For those who harbour vague understandings, negative attitudes or even feelings of resistance… carry out education transformation to ensure that results are achieved.”

Ben Emmerson QC, a leading human rights lawyer and an adviser to the World Uighur Congress, said the camps were trying to change people’s identity.

“It is very difficult to view that as anything other than a mass brainwashing scheme designed and directed at an entire ethnic community.

“It’s a total transformation that is designed specifically to wipe the Muslim Uighurs of Xinjiang as a separate cultural group off the face of the Earth.”

Presentational grey line

China’s hidden camps

BBC
Presentational grey line

Detainees are awarded points for their “ideological transformation, study and training, and compliance with discipline”, the memo says.

The punishment-and-reward system helps determine whether inmates are allowed contact with family and when they are released. They are only considered for release once four Communist Party committees have seen evidence they have been transformed.

The leaked documents also reveal how the Chinese government uses mass surveillance and a predictive-policing programme that analyses personal data.

One document shows how the system flagged 1.8m people simply because they had a data sharing app called Zapya on their phone.

The authorities then ordered the investigation of 40,557 of them “one by one”. The document says “if it is not possible to eliminate suspicion” they should be sent for “concentrated training”.

The documents include explicit directives to arrest Uighurs with foreign citizenship and to track Uighurs living abroad. They suggest that China’s embassies and consulates are involved in the global dragnet.

Chinese ambassador to the UK Liu Xiaoming said the measures had safeguarded local people and there had not been a single terrorist attack in Xinjiang in the past three years.

“The region now enjoys social stability and unity among ethnic groups. People there are living a happy life with a much stronger sense of fulfilment and security.

“In total disregard of the facts, some people in the West have been fiercely slandering and smearing China over Xinjiang in an attempt to create an excuse to interfere in China’s internal affairs, disrupt China’s counter-terrorism efforts in Xinjiang and thwart China’s steady development.”

CHINA IS USING BLOOD FROM MINORITIES FOR GENETIC RESEARCH

Image via NeedPix/Victor Tangermann

CHINA IS USING BLOOD FROM MINORITIES FOR GENETIC RESEARCH

THE COUNTRY IS TAKING DNA FROM ITS PERSECUTED UIGHER POPULATION.
BY DAN ROBITZSKI / DECEMBER 04 2019

China is running a disturbing genetic experiment on its persecuted Muslim Uigher population: trying to digitally reconstruct their faces based on genetic code.

China has rounded up at least a million Uighurs and other minorities and placed them in detention camps. And now, The New York Times reports that the country is using those camps to develop and test new mass surveillance techniques, including this new form of genetic profiling and identification.

Also disturbing is how the scientists behind the program have gained international support. American engineers and scientists have long been implicated in China’s anti-Muslim programs, but the NYT reports that prominent European agencies and scientists are supporting this genetic research financially.

“There’s a kind of culture of complacency that has now given way to complicity” within the world of science, University of Windsor in Ontario sociologist Mark Munsterhjelm told the NYT. And that international complicity is now manifesting as “essentially technologies used for hunting people.”

Chinese police prevented the NYT from speaking to anyone whose DNA had been collected, so China’s insistence that everyone consented to the study is impossible to confirm. But China’s claim flies in the face of common sense: persecuted groups who have been rounded up and concentrated in detention camps could not have feasibly offered their consent to be a part of the program.

“What the Chinese government is doing should be a warning to everybody who kind of goes along happily thinking, ‘How could anyone be worried about these technologies?’” University of Wisconsin-Madison bioethicist Pilar Ossario told the NYT.