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'Lab rats': China testing 'emotion detection' system on Uyghurs, report says

An image widely shared on social media reportedly shows a group of detainees in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region's Korla city.
by WorldTribune Staff, May 26, 2021

The communist government in China is using Muslim Uyghurs held in concentration camps as literal "lab rats" to test an "emotion detection" system designed to be used by authorities for “pre-judgement without any credible evidence,” a report said.

China has been testing an artificial intelligence (AI) emotion-detection camera system on Uyghurs held in Xinjiang, according to a May 25 BBC report.

“We placed the emotion detection camera 3m from the subject. It is similar to a lie detector but far more advanced technology,” an anonymous engineer who worked on the system told the BBC.

The engineer went on to describe “restraint chairs” used on test subjects.

“Your wrists are locked in place by metal restraints, and [the] same applies to your ankles.”

The engineer said the system “is trained to detect and analyze even minute changes in facial expressions and skin pores,” with the underlying software creating “a pie chart, with the red segment representing a negative or anxious state of mind.”

The engineer, who claimed to have installed the emotion detection system in police stations throughout Xinjiang province, which is home to 12 million ethnic minority Uyghurs, said: “The Chinese government use Uyghurs as test subjects for various experiments just like rats are used in laboratories.”

The China director of Human Rights Watch, Sophie Richardson, described the report as “shocking.”

“It’s not just that people are being reduced to a pie chart, it’s people who are in highly coercive circumstances, under enormous pressure, being understandably nervous and that’s taken as an indication of guilt, and I think, that’s deeply problematic,” Richardson added.

Human rights groups have accused the Chinese government of stripping away “the religious and other freedoms of the Uyghurs, culminating in an oppressive system of mass surveillance, detention, indoctrination, and even forced sterilization.”

In February, the BBC reported that “women in China’s ‘re-education’ camps for Uyghurs have been systematically raped, sexually abused, and tortured.”

One witness described how “women were removed from the cells ‘every night’ and raped by one or more masked Chinese men” and that “she was tortured and later gang-raped on three occasions, each time by two or three men.” Another said “she was forced to strip Uyghur women naked and handcuff them, before leaving them alone with Chinese men,” and that afterwards she was required to clean the rooms.

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