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China puts Tibetan Writers Under House Arrest

China continues to suppress human rights in Tibet

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FILE - Tibetan writer Tsering Woeser is pictured in Inner Mongolia, northern China, June 23, 2014. Photo credit: VOA/AP
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April 27,2016:  Prominent Tibetan writers Tsering Woeser and her husband, Wang Lixiong, told Voice of America (VOA) they were placed under house arrest Wednesday in Beijing.

According to an email from Woeser, the couple are to remain in their home for the remainder of the week because of a five-day visit to China’s capital by the head of the American Himalayan Foundation, with whom Woeser is not personally familiar.

Woeser said neither she and nor her husband had ever had any contact with the foundation or received notification of its president’s visit. Her protest on Twitter caused concern and angry cries from supporters.

She also tweeted a message to the foundation notifying the group of their house arrest.

AHF made no response to VOA’s interview request by the deadline of filing the story.

Woeser, who has been recognized for speaking out publicly about human rights conditions for China’s Tibetan citizens, is regularly under state surveillance and placed under house arrest by Beijing. In 2013, she was denied a passport after planning to travel to the United States to receive a State Department “Women of Courage” award to mark International Women’s Day.

Woeser and her husband rank among China’s best-known thinkers on Beijing’s policies regarding ethnic minorities.

This report was produced in collaboration with VOA’s Mandarin service.

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Copyright 2016 NewsGram

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Shanghai Airport Gets Check-In With Facial Recognition Machines

Increased convenience may come at a cost in a country with few rules on how the government can use biometric data.

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Shanghai,
A U.S. Customs and Border Protection facial recognition device is ready to scan another passenger at a United Airlines gate. VOA

It’s now possible to check in automatically at Shanghai Hongqiao airport using facial recognition technology, part of an ambitious rollout of facial recognition systems in China that has raised privacy concerns as Beijing pushes to become a global leader in the field.

Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport unveiled self-service kiosks for flight and baggage check-in, security clearance and boarding powered by facial recognition technology, according to the Civil Aviation Administration of China.

Similar efforts are under way at airports in Beijing and Nanyang city, in central China’s Henan province.

Shanghai,
Face recognition tool was first launched in 2012

Many airports in China already use facial recognition to help speed security checks, but Shanghai’s system, which debuted Monday, is being billed as the first to be fully automated.

“It is the first time in China to achieve self-service for the whole check-in process,” said Zhang Zheng, general manager of the ground services department for Spring Airlines, the first airline to adopt the system at Hongqiao airport. Currently, only Chinese identity card holders can use the technology.

Spring Airlines, Shanghai said Tuesday that passengers had embraced automated check-in, with 87 percent of 5,017 people who took Spring flights on Monday using the self-service kiosks, which can cut down check-in times to less than a minute and a half.

Shanghai,
Rana el Kaliouby, CEO of the Boston-based artificial intelligence firm Affectiva, demonstrates the company’s facial recognition technology, in Boston, April 23, 2018. VOA

Across greater China, facial recognition is finding its way into daily life. Mainland police have used facial recognition systems to identify people of interest in crowds and nab jaywalkers, and are working to develop an integrated national system of surveillance camera data.

Chinese media are filled with reports of ever-expanding applications: A KFC outlet in Hangzhou, near Shanghai, where it’s possible to pay using facial recognition technology; a school that uses facial recognition cameras to monitor students’ reactions in class; and hundreds of ATMs in Macau equipped with facial recognition devices to curb money laundering.

Also Read: Facial Recognition Technology Catches A Person With Fake Passpost At The US Airport 

But increased convenience may come at a cost in a country with few rules on how the government can use biometric data.

“Authorities are using biometric and artificial intelligence to record and track people for social control purposes,” said Maya Wang, senior China researcher for Human Rights Watch. “We are concerned about the increasing integration and use of facial recognition technologies throughout the country because it provides more and more data points for the authorities to track people.” (VOA)

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