By Junaid Ansari
This is something one has either read in science fiction or seen in sci-fi movies, with dread and awe. But the Chinese are now using techniques of mind control on its factory workers to make them work efficiently, put in more hours and desist all temptations to complain and protest, in other words make them automated machines.
This is part of China’s long-term strategy to turn its citizenry into a tame, manageable people who will obey their political masters and not go out into the streets to protest against the state and party. This will ensure there will be no Tiananmen Square. No one daring to make critical comments about the party or its leaders. No one to challenge the authority of the leader.
The Community Party of China, which rules the country, has never been in favour of free-thinking citizens (not that many countries are) and has put in severe to extreme restrictions on the freedom of movement, speech and religion for decades now. Millions of its citizens have either faced death or long and torturous incarceration and ignominy in the party’s frequent attempts to homogenise all its citizens-like the robotic toys multitudes of factories in China produce every year.
By punishing dissidents and subverting all attempts at free speech and action, China has so far managed to keep a lid on any possible avenue of dissent. But recent social media outbursts, protests in the nearby Hong Kong, in the restive Xinjiang province and increasing exposure, despite severe restrictions on the internet, to global citizen actions, China has realised that it will have to take even more restrictive steps to keep the citizens literally brain dead. To achieve this end, China has been collecting every single piece of information about its citizens, including DNA prints, to build a massive system of mass surveillance and control. This experiment has taken the form of a social credit system which evaluate any citizen’s creditworthiness. This is how it works–if a citizen defaults on any payment or fine, he or she is punished with denial of access to their bank accounts or other facilities, denying tickets for travel, best schools for your children, best jobs on offer, restricted internet speeds and lots more.
This project is already in operation, in parts and is likely to be become operational across the country by 2020. This is the first step.
Second step is already on. The venue is a factory, Hangzhou Zhongheng Electric which otherwise looks like any other except that workers here wear uniforms along with strange headsets that in reality monitor their brainwaves, data that management then uses to adjust the pace of production and redesign workflows. The company controls the efficiency of the working staff by manipulated the frequency and length of break time. It is not the only firm using mind control technology; it is in use in several industrial units.
The third part of this programme is titled innocuously as `re-education`. This programme is aimed at controlling the Muslim population, especially those from the troubled region of Xinjiang. Muslims of Xinjiang have been opposing the Chinese state’s consistently brutal effort to change their religious beliefs and practices. The Chinese have used repressive military measures to subjugate the minorities but with not much success. Despite the killings and other repressive measures, Muslims have been holding out against the Chinese for sometime. The Chinese have therefore decided to `reeducate` them–in other words send the whole lot of them to detention camps where they are brainwashed, threatened and persuaded to follow the Chinese diktat.
In these detention camps, according to former inmates, the Muslims are placed in handcuffs and ankle cuffs for 12 hours or more. The punishment becomes even more severe if the detainees refuse to obey the orders and this time they are tied to a metal contraption called a `tiger chair`.
According to human rights activists, several hundred thousand to just over one million Muslims have been detained in these camps. The activists term this drive as the most intense campaign of coercive social engineering since the end of the Cultural Revolution. Not only this, close to one million Communist cadres have been dispatched to the Muslim-dominated area to stay with the families and try to bring them around to accept the state directives. On top of it, the entire region has been turned into a surveillance fortress with checkpoints, widespread use of facial recognition technology besides forcing Muslim residents to install spyware on their phones to allow the authorities access to their conversations and other communications .
These are but few of the programmes China has put in place to create a state of zombies where only the party and its minions would rule the destiny of more than 1.5 billion people. International Business Times has reported that China is detaining at least 120,000 Muslim Uighurs in Mao-era re-education camps, according to a report. Uighurs are ethnic Turks who account for around 46% of the population in China’s northwestern Xinjiang region.
But since April 2017, Uighurs accused of having extremist and “politically incorrect” views have been imprisoned in re-education camps throughout Xinjiang, according to Radio Free Asia (RFA), a US-backed news outlet. A security chief of the Chasa township in Kashgar city in Xinjiang told the outlet that “approximately 120,000” were being held throughout the region. Xinjiang has made headlines in recent months after reports emerged that it was turning into a police state after the arrival of Chen Quanguo, a communist party hardliner who quashed social unrest in Tibet. Quanguo was drafted in to “pacify Xinjiang” in 2016 and has recruited tens of thousands of security officials to “keep tabs on the roughly 10 million Uighurs” living in the region, the Guardian reported last year.
In 2017, when Xi Jinping became China’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong, the region’s re-education facilities were “inundated” by Uighurs, it was reported. They were forced to live in cramped and squalid conditions, according to the RFA report.
Chasa’s security chief told RFA that there were “around 2,000 [people detained] from the four neighborhoods of Kashgar city, as well as an additional 30,000 in total from the city’s 16 villages”.