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RFA: Residents in China Must Pass Facial Recognition Test in Order to Apply for Online Services

Radio Free Asia reported that, in order to further strengthen network management and control, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology announced on September 27 that, starting from December 1, telephone users must pass a facial recognition test before they can apply for Internet access. In the notice there is a new set of regulations to be implemented which includes eleven new proposed measures.

On September 1, 2013, China enforced the telephone real-name system. That is, whether it is landline or a mobile telephone, applicants must use real identification for registration. Subsequently, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the Ministry of Public Security, and the State Administration for Industry and Commerce jointly issued the “Special Action Plan for the Management of the “Black Market for Telephone card”. On January 1, 2015, the measure for the real-name system for purchasing mobile phone cards was implemented nationwide.

According to the RFA article, the the authorities have been criticized for taking tough measures to increase control over the people. Some say the effect will only be counterproductive and will likely cause rebellion among the people.

Source: Radio Free Asia, September 27, 2019

Mandatory Collection of Male DNA Data in China

Many local governments in China are planning or have started collecting citizen DNA data. Following Xinjiang, Ningbo in Zhejiang province, and Anqing in Anhui province, the police in Guilin city of Guangxi province recently issued a notice to local residents that they would collect male DNA samples. In the week of September 20, a police branch in Guilin issued a “Notice on Collecting DNA Information from Male Family Blood Samples” to the residents. The purpose was “to complete the basic information task of public security, comprehensively improve the control and management of the population, and improve the capability to serve the people.” Between September 20 and December 31, the local police will visit the residential areas and collect blood samples from male residents. At least one male in every household has to have his blood sample collected.

The police already started collecting human biological data, such as DNA and iris data, from residents in Xinjiang as early as 2017. The media reported that, in a village in Jiangxi Province, police officers also visited door to door to collect male blood samples from every family, one from adults and one from children. The villagers are required to fill out the “DNA Database Personnel Information Form.”

The Chinese police have reportedly stored about 100 million DNA samples from the population and the figure keeps growing. Petitioners, people who seek justice and want to travel to Beijing to have their issues addressed, will be forced to undergo blood tests once they are taken to the police station. When this happened in the past, they only found out later that the police were extracting DNA data from their blood. Arrested dissidents or activists in recent years have also experienced forced blood tests. However, the Chinese government has never explicitly announced the actual purpose of establishing a DNA database in a compulsory or semi-mandatory manner.

Source: Radio Free Asia, September 26, 2019

Before and During the National Day Celebration, What One Can and Cannot Do

At the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the Chinese Communist regime, it is expected that the celebration events will be on the largest scale in decades. Beijing is already on full alert. In recent years, the security measures have rarely been seen to be this high.

Over the past few weeks, the authorities have ordered some residents in Beijing to move out. Several rounds of dress rehearsals also led to massive road closures. Supermarkets and restaurants along the military parade route have had to close.

However, the series of celebration events are open only to invited people. For those living in the city’s center, celebration means more restrictions.

The past several rehearsals sealed off regions in the city’s center where restaurants and supermarkets could not open. During the rehearsals, multiple stops on subway Line 1, a straight east-west line underneath Chang’an Avenue, were closed. Along Chang’an Avenue, where the military parade is to be held, the windows of the high-rise buildings are required to put on reflective strips or curtains. Residential neighborhoods in the area are blocked, with special personnel standing guard at check points. Local residents need to use ID cards to enter and leave the area. During the dress rehearsals, residents were required to pull down the curtains on their windows.

To secure the airspace, the government also banned flying kites, drones, and pigeons in the city center. The Chinese authorities have also implemented radio equipment controls, forbidding the use of wireless local area network (WLAN) outdoor stations, walkie-talkies, and wireless microphones.

To ensure enough sunshine for the celebration, the regime ordered some coal-fired power plants and construction sites in Beijing and surrounding areas in Tianjin city and Hebei province to suspend operations.

Between September 24th and October 3rd, mail deliveries in the city’s center are not allowed. All deliveries into Beijing will undergo strict examination. Passengers taking trains and high-speed rails into Beijing will be subject to multiple safety checks. Inbound vehicles are no exception.

Source: BBC Chinese, September 26, 2019

DW Chinese: Global Times Chief Hu Xijin Complained about the Great Firewall

Deutsche Welle Chinese Edition recently reported that Global Times (Huanqiu) Editor in Chief Hu Xijin just posted a complaint on social media Weibo that it has been really hard to get onto the “foreign Internet.” Hu and the Global Times are strong defenders of the Communist Party’s propaganda policies and Internet access control policies. However, they were often given privileges to get outside the Great Firewall to speak for the Party. Hu has been actively posting pro-Mainland messages on twitter for over a year now. It appears he just lost his access to the outside Internet world. China is currently in preparing for the celebration of the Communist government’s 70th anniversary. Internet access controls have been tightened up. Within two hours, Hu’s complaint on Weibo was quickly deleted. Chinese President Xi Jinping recently pointed out that the Chinese internet needs to be “safe and controllable.” China has also been cracking down on VPN providers recently. Hu Xijin also defended the Great Firewall himself when he had an interview with Hong Kong TVB, saying controlling access to outside networks is necessary.

Source: DW Chinese, September 18, 2019

The Epoch Times: As the Third National Parade Rehearsal Takes Place, Beijing Seems to Be in a Security War

As the National Day Parade is getting closer, a number of regions in China have tightened up their security surveillance. This is especially so for Beijing. Cai Qi, the Beijing Municipal Party Committee Secretary, spoke at the Beijing Security Work conference on August 31 and said that the security work in Beijing must be “excellent and perfect, with no loses.”

On September 21 and 22, Beijing held the third National Day Parade practice rehearsal. The authorities blocked the road near Chang An street and shut down the No.5 subway that passes through Chang An street. In addition, starting from the end of August, fruit and kitchen knives were removed from the shelves and petitioners in Beijing were arrested. The authorities imposed strict control over the personnel entering Beijing to ensure that “they are clean.” Hospitals in Beijing were notified that they could only release patients and could not admit patients. They also could not operate if there were non-emergency surgeries. One resident shared a notice he received from the building management office. The notice read as follows: Per the notification from the police, the gas supplies to this residential building will be temporarily shut off from 8 pm on September 30 until the celebration activities are concluded. Residents who live on 8th floor and above and who have a street view of Chang An street must put reflective stickers on their windows. Residents must gather on the ground floor at 8 am on October 1 and are not allowed to return back home until the activities are concluded. For seniors who lack mobility, the police will come to their homes to assist them.

Source: The Epoch Times, September 19, 2019

State Media Promoted Website That Leaks Personal Data of Hong Kong Protesters

A Russian registered website called “HK Leaks” has recently been collecting and posting the personal data of the Hong Kong anti-extradition bill protesters. On September 18, China’s state TV network China Central Television (CCTV) shared the video of the “HK Leaks” website on Weibo and encouraged netizens to forward it to others. In response, the Hong Kong pan-democratic district councilor Sunny Chiu made a posting on Facebook and suggested that the Chinese police were behind the website.

The personal data exposed on the “HK Leaks” website includes each person’s name, personal photo, occupation, birthday, phone number, and Facebook account. Some people’s residential addresses were also posted. In addition to some media reporters, the list also includes members of the Hong Kong Legislative Council, social activists, and even ordinary Hong Kong citizens who participated in the parades. The website called these people “poisonous reports,” “Hong Kong independence thugs,” and “ringleaders that ruin Hong Kong.”

The website also leaves an email address to send tips. The list continues to grow. CCTV posted a video on its Weibo account around 1 p.m. on September 18, saying that “some netizens have created a website called HK Leaks.” They suggesting netizens “take off their masks and act together! Forward!” As of the morning of September 19, the video could not be seen.

Hong Kong pan-democratic district councilor Sunny Chiu shared a story on Facebook. The website showed that a violent thug accused a Hong Kong citizen, who was not a well-known social activist, of participating in illegal gatherings and also published his personal information. Chiu said that, two months ago, the police detained the victim for five hours when he entered mainland China from Hong Kong. During the detainment, the police confiscated the victim’s mobile phone, checked the photos, identified him as a participant in illegal parades, and took away the information on his phone. The victim told Chiu that he had deliberately filled in two errors in the address bar on the confession paper requested by the police. Later, the exact same mistakes showed up on the “HK Leaks” website. The victim believes that it must be the police who have been leaking the personal information of the Hong Kong people.

Source: Central News Agency, September 19, 2019