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The Weekly Brief

Just a quick update in case you missed it.

Released on 24.11.2023

Europe still working with China on military and surveillance uses of artificial intelligence, report finds

Academics in Europe are continuing to work with Chinese counterparts on “clearly problematic” artificial intelligence (AI) research in areas like biometric surveillance, cybersecurity, and military fields, a new analysis has found. Just last year, for example, researchers at the German military’s leading research institute, the Bundeswehr University Munich, published the results of a collaboration with a People’s Liberation Army university on AI work that could help build automatic targeting systems.

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BASF Defends Xinjiang Joint Ventures

A chemical giant whose material innovations are frequently used by the fashion industry faces scrutiny after a German newspaper raised questions about its joint ventures in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

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Uyghur Poet's Memoir on China's Abuses Earns Recognition

Tahir Hamut Izgil witnessed firsthand, China’s repressive treatment of the Uyghur ethnic minority group and experienced how society changed over time in Xinjiang, an autonomous region in northwest China. His memoir, published this year has gained attention by readers and recognition by two prominent U.S. publications this week, while China describes accusations of repression as a false narrative. Izgil’s memoir, Waiting to be Arrested at Night: A Uyghur Poet’s Memoir of China’s Genocide, has been listed as one of the “50 notable works of nonfiction,” by The Washington Post and as the “100 Must-Read Books of 2023,” by Time magazine.

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China spending massively on surveillance in Tibet, say scholars

The nature and extent of surveillance that the Chinese government has on people in its restive provinces was in focus on the second day of the three-day All India Conference of Chinese Studies at the University of Hyderabad. Apa Lhamo, research fellow at the Centre for China Analysis and Strategy, described showed how the Chinese government has weaponised surveillance in Tibet by collecting even DNA samples and how it can be used to track the relatives of people who fall afoul of the law. Using primary and secondary Tibetan, Chinese and English sources, Ms. Lhamo showed how the Chinese government has turned Tibet into a laboratory for testing technology and digitised form of surveillance.

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Tibet’s government-in-exile calls on Canberra to not ‘compromise’ on China’s human rights record

A minister from the Tibetan government in exile has said during a visit to Canberra that the Pacific country must not compromise on human rights as it improves its relationship with Beijing because “the truth must be told”,. Norzin Dolma, a minister of the Central Tibetan Administration based in Dharamshala in India, met Australian MPs from across the political spectrum on Thursday to warn against a “quiet diplomacy” approach to “gross human rights abuses” and “brutal suppression” in Tibet.

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Canada PM says he hopes to meet China's Xi one day once tensions defused

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday said he hoped to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping once the two sides had put in the work needed to repair badly strained bilateral ties. China and Canada have had poor relations for years amid disagreements over human rights and complaints by Ottawa about alleged Chinese interference in the last two elections. Trudeau, who is at an APEC summit in San Francisco, said he had had "a good exchange" with Xi on the sidelines of the meeting and told the Chinese leader the two sides needed to try to create a constructive dialogue.

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Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR), the Chair and Cochair respectively of the bipartisan and bicameral Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC), held a hearing this week looking at the dominance of Chinese companies in the cobalt mining industry of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and how the exploitation of child and forced labor in this sector in the DRC impacts a global supply chain dependent on cobalt for a range of modern products.

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