On May 27th, the Turkish twitter account for Campaign for Uyghurs, which was used for defending the rights of Muslim Uyghur Turks in East Turkistan was suspended. The very next day, May 28th, the Chinese language account was also suspended. In response, CFU director, Rushan Abbas, said “This newly initiated Chinese twitter account only had 50 followers, so the fact that the Chinese government feels so incredibly threatened by that is quite telling.” Both twitter accounts served no purpose other than making the voices of the oppressed heard and neither contained any illegal content. This brought up the question of whether China has an element of control over narratives on twitter regarding this issue. Unfortunately, many large organizations from the United Nations (UN) to giant companies have relied on China. The commitment of the world to China on technological systems was mentioned in an article by Alex Capri in Forbes Magazine recently. The first of the findings in the article is about the 75th anniversary of the UN. The UN knocked on China’s door to hold a global video conference. The meeting of the organizing company with Tencent, the owner of WeChat, one of the biggest technology companies in China, for the conference had the theme of “How should the world be seen in the next 25 years”, and this attracted the attention of western countries. Because this company is known as the surveillance and censorship apparatus of the Chinese Communist Party, there was a reaction. Tencent is also obliged to deliver all data to the central government in accordance with the Beijing government’s cybersecurity laws. In this order, which Alex Capri regarded as “ironic”, the UN thought that only by choosing WeChat could they overcome the barriers presented by the Chinese internet wall. However, due to international pressure, the UN withdrew from taking this step.
Zoom, HikVision and Amazon
The UN’s retreat did not change the situation for the rest of the world. It turned out that the online meeting platform Zoom, which is popular in the midst of these Covid-19 pandemic days, utilizes the encrypted and unencrypted data entry systems through the service provider system, which employs 700 people in China. These organizations immediately banned Zoom, as NASA, SpaceX, and the Taiwan government’s data came through China without a passcode. Many organizations also started not using Zoom’s web conferencing services.
The problem that arises here is the dilemma regarding the tension between human rights violation accountability and the fact that technology companies and international organizations remain
dependent on China. HikVision, one of the largest blacklisted companies in America, is one of the biggest founders of virtual surveillance systems in East Turkistan, and also supplies chips to American technology companies. These American companies are getting permission from the government to circumvent this blacklist. Amazon, which has become a giant owned by the world’s richest person, Jeff Bezos, purchased $ 10 million worth of products from Dahua, a Chinese company, for technology that will measure the body temperatures of its employees during virus days.
All these events make it mandatory for corporate governments to raise the bar, especially as regards transparency and commitment to international values. At this point, the author raises the question “Are the owners of a company selling or buying technology that causes loss of censorship and confidentiality”? In the article, which draws attention to the high cost of detecting this, however, it is stated that there will be a system with less uncertainty.
This censorship which the Uyghur Movement is exposed to today is an indication that the big technology companies are constrained by the pressure of countries such as China. However, it should
not be forgotten that there is no end to saying “yes” to everything China says today. As we say yes, the monster that grows will one day swallow all of those companies. Perhaps technology has turned into a monster, in which the search for it takes us blindly to a sort of societal death.