Life in Rural Kyrgyzstan
World|life|November 17, 2019 / 12:01 PM
China’s surveillance state has eyes on Central Asia

AKIPRESS.COM - China’s advanced surveillance regime is taking root along the length of the Belt and Road—especially the Belt, the overland Eurasian routes that were the origin of the government’s ambitious investment project, the FP reports.

Recently, Kyrgyzstan opened a new police command center in its capital, Bishkek, putting its new facial recognition cameras to work. The equipment was supplied—reportedly free of charge—by the China National Electronics Import and Export Corporation, a defense company currently sanctioned by the United States.

The initiative is part of Bishkek’s emerging effort to become a so-called smart city—a catchall term for cities with advanced data-processing capabilities. Such projects are being implemented across the region with help from China.

This April, Huawei closed a $1 billion deal with Uzbekistan to build a traffic-monitoring system involving some 883 cameras. Meanwhile Hikvision—another Chinese company under U.S. sanctions that advertises its ability to spot the faces of members of the Uighur minority in crowds—supplies major urban centers across Kazakhstan, including Almaty and Shymkent. Kazakhstan has been experimenting with developing smart cities since 2017.

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