China Government Spreads Uyghur Analytics Across China

By: Charles Rollet, Published on Nov 25, 2019

IPVM has found 12 recent government projects across China (PRC) that require Uyghur analytics and a general government guideline requiring such analytics.

This exposes that Uyghur persecution and discrimination goes far beyond Xinjiang and is being built on video surveillance technologies.

Requiring Uyghur Analytics

IPVM found evidence these analytics are centrally planned by the PRC government (which plays a far more active role setting domestic video surveillance standards than its counterparts in the West).

This was included in China's top police authority, the Ministry of Public Security's draft facial recognition guidelines in December 2017:

The draft guidelines include Uyghur analytics:

While IPVM could not find the final version (a common issue with PRC records), we found numerous government projects after this draft was released, implementing this requirement.

Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News
Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News

12 PRC Ughur Analytics Projects

As the animated map below shows, in the last 2 years, PRC government projects mandating Uyghur analytics have spread across the country:

Here is the full list of PRC government projects requiring Uyghur analytics:

  • Gansu Province. Public Security Video Structured Processing Software and Hardware Project. Purchaser: Gansu Provincial Public Security Department. (项目名称:公安视频结构化处理软硬件项目. 采 购 人:甘肃省公安厅) January 2018.
  • Nan'an district, Chongqing. Network application of public security video surveillance construction in Nan'an District (南岸区公共安全视频监控建设联网应用.) Purchaser: Chongqing Municipal Public Security Bureau and Nan'an District Bureau. August 2018.
  • Jinyun County, Zhejiang province. Video surveillance system purchasing project (视频监控系统租赁服务政府采购项目.) Purchasing Agency: Jinyun County Public Resource Trading Center. September 2018.
  • Jingbian County, Shaanxi Province. Jingbian County Public Security Bureau equipment purchase. (靖边县公安局采购2018年第一批中省转移支付自定装备项目公开招标文件). December 2018.
  • Beijing, Chaoyang District. Public Security Video Surveillance Construction Network. (朝阳区公共安全视频监控建设联网) Tenderer: Chaoyang Branch PSB. December 2018.
  • Lankao County, Henan province. Lankao County public safety video surveillance construction network. 兰考县公共安全视频监控建设联网应用工程项目建设概算清单. Exact date unclear; first uploaded online April 2019.
  • Huaiyuan County, Anhui province. Huaiyuan County Social Security Video Surveillance System Portrait Recognition System Expansion Project (怀远县社会治安视频监控系统人像识别系统扩容项目). Huaiyuan County Public Security Bureau. April 2019.
  • Yongtai County. Fujian Provincial Government Procurement. Yongtai County Phase 7 (350 Channel) HD Video Surveillance System Construction Project. (永泰县第七期(350路)高清视频监控系统建设项目). Purchaser: Yongtai County Public Security Bureau. June 2019.
  • Zibo City. Zibo City Public Security Bureau (Linyi Branch) Video Analysis (淄博市公安局临淄分局视频解析平台采购需求方案). Purchaser: Linbo Branch of Zibo City Public Security Bureau. July 2019.
  • Yanghe New District, Suqian City, Jiangsu province. Yanghe New District community intelligent transformation project (洋河新区老旧小区智能化改造项目.) Jingbian County Public Security Bureau. September 2019.
  • Yulin, Guangxi province. Face Recognition and Analysis System Project. (人脸识别及分析系统项目). Purchaser: Yulin Intermediate People's Court. September 2019.
  • Qingdao City. Qingdao Municipal Government Procurement security system construction. (青岛市政府采购 武警青岛支队执勤七中队“智慧磐石”执勤安保系统建设 项目 二次招标). October 2019.

Here are three examples:

Yulin City project calls out Uighur, Han:

Suqian City project calls out Uighurs:

Gansu Province project calls out Han and Uyghur:

More Projects Almost Certain

Almost certainly, there are even more than these 12 projects as limitations exist in how many projects and how long project RFP documents are publicly available. While we cannot determine the total number of projects, the range of locations and the sheer number of projects in such a short period of time show this is a clear trend across the PRC.

Accuracy Concerns

Adding to the fundamental concern of doing such ethnic profiling is the risk of errors. Indeed, the 2017 draft government guidelines only required 70% accuracy, as the excerpt below shows:

Based on our general AI testing, we anticipate there will be serious accuracy issues. It is one thing to automate glasses detection, for example, since it is based on a well-defined location for a specific attribute. By contrast, even gender identification is notoriously error-prone across AI providers. We would expect similar (or worse) issues with Uyghur detection as it relies on subtle, hard to distinguish, unreliable facial differences, made worse by video capture challenges.

Ethnicity Analytics in China

The PRC government is cracking down on China's Uyghur Muslim minority, subjecting them to intrusive surveillance and sending at least a million to so-called 're-education camps'.

One aspect of this crackdown is Uyghur analytics: AI programs that allow police to automatically pick out Uyghurs in video surveillance footage. These analytics were first described in detail by the New York Times in April as "ushering in a new era of automated racism".

Suppliers of Uyghur Analytics

The RFPs show Uyghur analytics is a significant and growing business inside the PRC. What is not clear from these documents is who is providing these analytics.

Earlier this month, Hikvision deleted a Uyghur-detecting AI camera advertised on its China website after IPVM inquired about it.

Earlier in 2019, the New York Times identified several companies aside from Hikvision who have developed and advertised Uyghur analytics in China: Sensetime, Megvii, Yitu, and Cloudwalk. All of these firms, except for Cloudwalk, were sanctioned last month for complicity in human rights abuses.

Ethical Issues

The rapidly expanding market for this PRC government-driven requirement raises serious ethical issues. This use of video surveillance and AI technology to conduct widespread ethnic / racial profiling is unprecedented globally.

While this is a growing source of profit for video surveillance manufacturers, including the industry's largest PRC manufacturers, it is also a growing source of both human rights concerns and rising protests as the public increasingly sees surveillance technology being abused.

2 reports cite this report:

The 2020 Video Surveillance Industry Guide on Dec 20, 2019
The 300-page, 2020 Video Surveillance Industry Guide covers the key events and the future of the video surveillance market, is now available, group...
China Uyghur Analytic Projects Require Intel And NVIDIA, Intel Condemns, NVIDIA Silent on Dec 02, 2019
At least 8 PRC China police projects require NVIDIA and Intel chips to power their Uyghur-detecting analytics, according to procurement documents...

Comments (7)

Only IPVM Members may comment. Login or Join.

Every made in China product we purchase is endorsement of their practices. We have chosen convenience over privacy in this country, are we now choosing price over human rights? Would we pay more for an iPhone if it was made here in the states?

always ironic that the Christmas lights we hang around our tree and the gifts under the tree originate in a country that practices the most unchristian of values. But they aren’t the only guilty ones, we as the consumers created this monster.

Well Christmas lights aren’t really mentioned in the Bible. 🤷🏻‍♂️

Propoganda again, only the test report is a little bit rational.

#3, what is propaganda? Reporting the facts of RFP documents and government requirements is propaganda? Please elaborate.

Would you like us to test Uyghur analytics and see how well they work?

Facts are one of the most potent forms of propaganda. They should be outlawed.

"Would you like us to test Uyghur analytics and see how well they work?"

Yes, please

and share with us plugin/soft

Well, that would be interesting :-)

I'd guess you had to do a reverse test. Testing on a lot of non Uyghur persons and look for false positives.

Related Reports

Hikvision Global News Reports Directory on Jan 17, 2020
Hikvision has received the most global news reporting of any video surveillance company, ever, ranging from the WSJ, the Financial Times, Reuters,...
China Uyghur Analytic Projects Require Intel And NVIDIA, Intel Condemns, NVIDIA Silent on Dec 02, 2019
At least 8 PRC China police projects require NVIDIA and Intel chips to power their Uyghur-detecting analytics, according to procurement documents...
Hikvision Markets Uyghur Ethnicity Analytics, Now Covers Up on Nov 11, 2019
Hikvision has marketed an AI camera that automatically identifies Uyghurs, on its China website, only covering it up days ago after IPVM questioned...
US - China Review Commission Cites IPVM on Foreign Provider Threat on Oct 01, 2019
A bipartisan congressional commission cited IPVM twice in its analysis of how the PRC government protects its surveillance firms from foreign...
Dahua And Hikvision Accept PRC Government Officials on Sep 26, 2019
Hikvision and Dahua are among the 100 companies accepting PRC government officials as part of a new initiative to boost manufacturing that has...
Critiquing Carnegie's AI Surveillance Paper on Sep 25, 2019
The Carnegie Endowment has issued an ambitious paper on the Global Expansion of AI Surveillance. While its aim is applaudable, the paper has...
Hikvision Scrutinized In The Netherlands on Aug 15, 2019
Hikvision is facing unprecedented scrutiny in the Netherlands, at the same time the US government ban has taken effect. This week, a Dutch...
Hikvision Cameras Covering Concentration Camps on Jul 29, 2019
Hikvision cameras monitoring a concentration camp were shown in a recent BBC investigation: The video excerpt shows the Hikvision cameras and...
US Considers Sanctions Against Hikvision and Dahua on May 22, 2019
The US government is considering blacklisting "up to 5" PRC surveillance firms, including Hikvision and Dahua, Bloomberg reported, with human...
"Automated Racism": Chinese Tech Companies Profiling Ethnic Minority on Apr 26, 2019
Scrutiny of Chinese facial recognition providers, including Hikvision, has sharply increased following a New York Times report that they developed...

Most Recent Industry Reports

YCombinator AI Startup Visual One Tested on Apr 02, 2020
Startup Visual One, backed by Silicon Valley's powerful Y Combinator, aims to be "Your 24/7 Watchman" with advanced analytics and object...
Free IPVM Memberships For The Unemployed on Apr 02, 2020
IPVM is giving 3-month free memberships (regular price $99) for the unemployed, no questions asked. To get it, just contact us, your request...
Dahua Faked Coronavirus Camera Marketing on Apr 01, 2020
Dahua has conducted a coronavirus camera global marketing campaign centered around a faked detection. Now, Dahua has expanded this to the USA,...
Video Surveillance Trends 101 on Apr 01, 2020
This report examines major industry factors and how they could impact video surveillance in the next 5 - 10 years. This is part of our Video...
USA's Seek Scan Thermal Temperature System Examined on Apr 01, 2020
This US company, Seek, located down the road from FLIR and founded by former FLIR employees is offering a thermal temperature system for the...
Terrible Convergint Coronavirus Thermal Camera Recommendation on Apr 01, 2020
A week after Convergint disclosed falling revenue, pay and job cuts, Convergint is touting 'extensive research' that is either grossly incompetent...
The IPVM New Products Online Show April 2020 Opens With 40+ Manufacturers on Mar 31, 2020
IPVM is excited to announce the first New Products Online show, with 40+ manufacturers, to be held April 14 to the 16th, free to IPVM members,...
USA's Feevr Thermal Temperature System Examined on Mar 31, 2020
This US company has burst on to the scene, brashly naming itself 'feevr' and branding itself as a "COVID 19 - AI BASED NON CONTACT THERMAL...
JCI Coronavirus Cuts on Mar 31, 2020
JCI has made coronavirus cuts, the company told employees in an email that IPVM has reviewed. Inside this note, we examine the cuts made, the...
Add Door Operators To Fight Coronavirus on Mar 31, 2020
IPVM recommends that integrators advocate and end-users consider adding door operators to fight the spread of coronavirus. This delivers...