Chinese Border Guards Are Snatching Information From Tourists’ Phones: Report

Chinese border authorities have reportedly been installing a policing app on Android smartphones belonging to tourists who enter Xinjiang.

Border guards in the Xinjiang region are stopping tourists and seizing their smartphones, according to a joint investigation by The New York Times, The Guardian, Vice Media, Motherboard and German outlets. Visitors reportedly must hand over their devices to gain entrance into Xinjiang, and Chinese guards then install an app called Fengcai. (RELATED: Beijing Gives Warning To Hong Kong Protesters Over ‘Serious Illegal Act’)

The app is able to collect personal data including phone contacts, text messages, call logs, and calendar entries, and then send the data to a server for review.

Fengcai also checks whether devices are carrying videos, pictures, documents and audio files that match any of more than 73,000 items flagged as being suspicious, The NYT reported. The app’s code stores a list that includes these items.

The list reportedly includes items such as recordings of Jihadi anthems, Islamic State publications, and images of executions. However, the list also includes less threatening items such as scanned pages from an Arabic dictionary and a photo of the Dalai Lama, according to The NYT.

The investigation comes amid allegations of the Chinese government persecuting Uighur Muslims, as more and more reports emerge about China’s “reeducation” centers, where Uighurs are routinely sent.


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