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Weekend Edition

Friday, April 19th, 2019

The Trump-Barr Collusion

Friday, April 19th, 2019

by B. R. GOWANI

(From left to right) President Donald Trump, US Attorney General William Barr, and
Special Counsel of the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections Robert Mueller
PHOTO/Duck Duck Go

Trump-Barr collusion in baar* sentences

  1. Barr and Trump have openly exhibited ample ways in which they colluded in the process of releasing the Mueller Report, including by using same terminology, repeatedly.
  2. Barr’s duty was just to deliver Mueller Report to the Congress, instead he called a press conference couple of hours before giving the report to mislead everyone before anyone could see the actual report and decide for themselves.
  3. Barr issued a four-page white-washed summary of the over 400-page Report – which was kind of truths/facts laundering and which was also criticized by the Mueller team.
  4. Barr defended Trump and attempted to excuse his behavior: “The president was frustrated and angered by a sincere belief that the investigation was undermining his presidency, propelled by his political opponents, and fueled by illegal leaks” – Barr declared Trump sincere when the world knows him as the most insincere person.
  5. Barr lied when he said Trump “fully co-operated with the special counsel’s investigation” which was not true, as Trump refused to comply with Mueller team to answer its questions in an interview.
  6. Barr conveniently ignored the fact that Trump chose to “not remember” answers to 29 key written questions that would have exposed him and set him up for perjury.
  7. Clear collusion, Trump-style, also amply exhibited when White House counsel’s office hired Attorney General Barr’s son-in-law Tyler McGaughey to “advise” Trump.
  8. Barr completely towed Trump’s official line in absolving Trump of any crimes which is absolutely not true.
  9. After defending Trump, Barr answered very few questions and refused to accept that he was being generous to Trump.
  10. Barr should have challenged Trump’s claim that he had “Complete and Total EXONERATION”.
  11. There were numerous “consultations” between the White House and Barr before the redacted version of the report was released.
  12. Barr has had a 40 year career known for strict criminal justice views but also for arguing the long arm of the law should not reach too far into the White House.

B. R. Gowani can be reached at brgowani@hotmail.com

*(Baar in Gujarati language means twelve.)

I told my mom I hire sex workers and her response changed our relationship

Friday, April 19th, 2019

by ANDREW GURZA


Andrew Gurza and his mother, Sher
PHOTO/Andrew Gurza

As a disabled queer man who uses a wheelchair and loves sex and getting naked with men, I have had to navigate the coming out process a number of times and in a number of different ways.

I first came out as gay when I was 16. At that time, I was struggling with the fact that I used a wheelchair and I was terrified that by opening up about my sexuality, I would only be adding another burden to my life as a disabled person.

After searching for a term that felt like it fit me more authentically, I came out as “queer” when I was 27. I didn’t feel comfortable using “gay” anymore. Because of my disability, I am not muscular, “masc4masc” or any of the things that are so often culturally associated with that word. Using the term “queer” felt safe. It meant that I didn’t have to subscribe to a narrative that conjured particular images or ideas that my disability didn’t or couldn’t fulfill.

At 30, I came out as a “queer cripple.” This was during my “Fuck you! I‘m disabled and if you can’t deal with it, get the fuck out” phase. I knew what people thought about disabled people and sex, and I wanted to take those misconceptions, turn them inside out and wear them like a badge of honor. If I reclaimed the word “cripple” and said it first, maybe the ableism and prejudice I encountered on a daily basis wouldn’t hurt as much, right?

Throughout my life, I’ve had to reveal my different identities to the personal care workers who help me with daily tasks like showering and using the bathroom. Each time I came out to one of them, I hoped my honesty wouldn’t offend them, as I am dependent upon their help. There were many times I hid who I am from them, so I wouldn’t lose my care.

I had made the decision to employ male sex workers almost two years ago… I was exhausted by being asked if my genitals worked and being sent messages telling me that I looked ‘too cute to be disabled’ or that I ‘looked retarded ? nobody wants you.’

I’ve also had to come out to members of the disability community. To my surprise and dismay, coming out to them has often been the hardest. I’ve been told that all I needed was an able-bodied girl in my life and everything would be all right. Each of these coming out stories has shaped my queer disabled identity in significant ways, but I believe my most recent coming out experience has been the most transformative and powerful in my journey as a queer cripple: I told my mom I hire sex workers.

Huffington Post for more

Samantha Bee responds to Joe Biden

Friday, April 19th, 2019

It’s a booming business: Trafficking Myanmar ‘brides’ to China

Thursday, April 18th, 2019

by HEATHER BARR

Nang Seng Ja was just 19 and living in Myanmar’s northern Kachin State when her aunt invited her on a trip to see her three cousins who live in China. About a month into the visit, Nang Seng Ja fainted. She awakened in a strange house surrounded by a Chinese man and his family. “I heard from them that I was trafficked,” she told Human Rights Watch.

Nang Seng Ja, whose name I’ve changed for her protection, fled to a nearby police station, and begged for help. “The police then took 5,000 yuan [$800] from the family,” she said. “Then they sent me back to the family.”

They locked her in a room where the man raped her repeatedly. They forced her to take what they said were fertility drugs. “The family’s mother and father told me, ‘We bought you. You must stay here,’” she said. After 14 months, one of her cousins, angry that she received a smaller share of the “bride” money, told Nang Seng Ja’s parents where she was. They paid another trafficking survivor half of the family’s property to recover her.

Each year, traffickers through deceit or force, transport hundreds of women and girls from northern Myanmar to China and sell them to Chinese families struggling to find brides for their sons due to the country’s gender imbalance.

Myanmar’s internal armed conflict in the North has been ongoing since achieving its independence in 1948, but dramatically escalated in 2011 when the government ended a 17-year ceasefire. More than 100,000 people, predominantly ethnic Kachins, have been displaced. Many trafficking survivors said that they live desperate lives in displaced people’s camps, with little opportunity to earn a living. The Myanmar government blocks aid to the camps. Women and girls often become the sole breadwinners for their families, with their husbands and brothers away fighting.   

Across the border in China, the percentage of women has fallen steadily since 1987. Researchers estimate that China has 30 to 40 million “missing women.” The imbalance is caused by a preference for boys, exacerbated by the “one-child policy” in place from 1979 to 2015, and China’s continuing restrictions on women’s reproductive rights.

Trafficking survivors usually said that trusted people—in some cases their own relatives–promised them work in China, then sold them for amounts ranging from $3,000 to $13,000. Survivors said buyers often seemed more interested in a baby than a bride. The women and girls were typically locked in a room and raped repeatedly.  After giving birth they could sometimes escape, but usually only by leaving their children behind. Several women said they were so desperate to see their children that they returned to China to the families who had held them captive.

W e News for more

The Neanderthal renaissance

Thursday, April 18th, 2019

bY REBECCA WRAGG SYKES

Who were the Neanderthals? Even for archaeologists working at the trowel’s edge of contemporary science, it can be hard to see Neanderthals as anything more than intriguing abstractions, mixed up with the likes of mammoths, woolly rhinos and sabre-toothed cats. But they were certainly here: squinting against sunrises, sucking lungfuls of air, leaving footprints behind in the mud, sand and snow. Crouching to dig in a cave or rock-shelter, I’ve often wondered what it would be like to watch history rewind, and see the empty spaces leap with shifting, living shadows: to collapse time, reach out, and allow my skin to graze the warmth of a Neanderthal body, squatting right there beside me.  

The business of archaeology is about summoning wraiths from the graveyards of millennia, after the vagaries of decay and erosion have done their work. Everything begins as fragments. Yet in recent years, poring over these shards has produced a revolution in our understanding of Neanderthals. Contrary to what we once thought, they were far from brutish, ‘lesser’ beings, or mere evolutionary losers on a withered branch of our family tree. Rather, the invention of new dating techniques, analysis of thousands more fossils and artefacts, and advances in ancient DNA research have collectively revealed the extent to which the lives of Neanderthals are braided together with our own.

When Western science first encountered the Neanderthals in 1856, they were a jumble of bones – one of which was a broken skull dome. Blasted out of the rock by a pair of Italian miners in the Kleine Feldhofer cave in Germany’s Neander Valley (‘Neandertal’), enough remained of the weirdly flat skull with colossal brow ridges to hint at something alien yet human-like. The upper face bespoke a prodigious nose between cavernous eye sockets; there were also limb bones, bulkier than any known human’s. From the beginning, Neanderthals, dubbed Homo neanderthalensis, were tantalising in their incompleteness.

Shortly after, an entire skull emerged at the other end of Europe: in Gibraltar (on British soil, no less, to the delight of the London intelligentsia). The Forbes’ Quarry skull had actually been found some years earlier, in 1848, but had gone mostly unremarked in a museum collection. The bone itself was hidden by a coating of hardened sediment, and its nature obscured by the fact that nobody was primed to ‘see’ extinct hominins (the group of primates that includes humans, our immediate ancestors and other vanished human species). But in December 1863, Thomas Hodgkin, a visiting physician with experience in ethnography and anatomy, recognised the skull’s significance. He suggested it be sent to his friend George Busk, who had translated the analysis of the Feldhofer bones from German. When the skull arrived in London in July 1864, it removed any uncertainty about the Neanderthals’ link to us: lacking a primitive ape-like muzzle, these apparitions from an unknown aeon were decidedly and disturbingly human-like.

In the wake of this first flurry of discoveries, further Neanderthal specimens sprang up across Europe – until in 1908, a nearly complete skeleton of an adult male was disinterred from the La Chapelle-aux-Saints cave in France. The publication of the find included illustrations made with cutting-edge Edwardian technology, in the form of 3D ‘stereo’ photographs. Reconstructions of the ‘Old Man’ of La Chapelle varied widely from hairy ‘ape man’ to a tidy-bearded – albeit shirtless – member of the bourgeoisie. But anatomically, at least, it was no longer possible to argue that he and his kind were closer to nonhuman animals than to living people. Now scholars began asking the deeper question: so Neanderthals looked the part, but were they truly ‘people’, like us?

Aeon for more

Kabir in his time, and ours

Thursday, April 18th, 2019

by HARBANS MUKHIA

Kabir wearing a turban adorned with a peacock feather. PHOTO/YouTube screen grab

The notion that God is one entity with different names in India is Kabir’s singular legacy – one the Hindutva camp is now trying to demolish.

Long before Kabir’s time (c. 1440-c.1518), with Islam’s arrival in India, two religions with contrary concepts of God and forms of prayer stood face to face. If Islam stood for the singularity of God, tauhid, Hinduism was teeming with legends of 330 million gods and goddesses even as the population practicing it would probably be under a hundred million.

Hinduism, in fact, comprised several strands, including monotheism as well as a very strong strand of atheism, unthinkable in Christianity or Islam as doctrines. The forms of worship for Muslims was a single one; these abounded in Hinduism. Islam came in through various doors: through the battlefields, Sufi dargahs and at the hands of traders. If its arrival at the point of the sword clearly created divisive tensions at the social level, the Sufis tended to soften these tensions through an alternate version of their faith.

However, even as interactions and some give-and-take of ideas, especially between the Sufis and the Nathpanthis did occur, the two competing identities of God – Allah and Ishwar – remained intact with this rivalry percolating down to their followers. It was Kabir’s genius that sought a resolution of this conflict. If the problem was extremely complex, Kabir’s solution was marked by a matching simplicity. He gave tauhid a very simple Indian version.

Tauhid, the Arabic term for the singularity of God or monotheism, the basic premise of Islam, had led to extensive discussions within the Muslim community. No one questioned either the existence or the singularity of God, but discussion followed on whether human beings can be held answerable for their deeds if all they do is pre-ordained for them by God; or whether Time had been created by God or was eternal; even the legitimacy of prophethood was questioned.

Al-Ghazzali, however, with enormous erudition at his command, closed all doors to dissent and firmly placed the faith beyond all manner of discussion. But then, some doors were opened again with Ibn al-Arabi proposing that while God’s singularity is given, He can be perceived and approached in multiple forms: wahdat al-wujud, the unity in multiplicity formula that we in India are so fond of repeating. In the 12th century a group in Morocco calling itself al-Muwahiddun (believers in tauhid) created a movement to purify Islam of its pre- and anti-Islamic elements and led to the establishment of a state which lasted over a century.

However, all these discussions, elaborations and movements were confined within the fold of Islam. Kabir broke out of this fold and took tauhid beyond the boundaries of denominational religions. But first, what are Kabir’s bona fides as an interpreter of tauhid?

Abu’l Fazl, medieval India’s tallest historian and intellectual mentions Kabir as a Muwahidd, says that he had unfolded life’s hidden “meaning” – a Sufi trope referring to life’s real spiritual meaning above the daily routine – and had given up the worldly rituals. Abu’l Fazl’s junior contemporary, Abdul Haqq Muhaddis, an orthodox scholar, tells a delightful story: his father asked his own father whether this renowned Kabir was a Hindu or a Muslim. His father said Kabir was neither a Hindu nor a Muslim but a Muwahidd. The son asked him what is a Muwahidd? The father replied “You are too young to understand; you will when you grow up”.

Noticeable is the fact that Kabir was recognised as a Muwahidd both in the liberal Muslim circles in medieval India, of which Abu’l Fazl is the most shining symbol as well as in orthodox circles and both emphasised that Kabir’s Muwahidd status went beyond the bounds of Islam and Hinduism. What did Kabir do to earn this distinction?

The Wire for more

The world’s most dangerous divide

Wednesday, April 17th, 2019

by JOHN FEFFER

Hindu nationalists rally in Calcutta PHOTO/Shutterstock

If nuclear war comes, it will happen because of a calculation or miscalculation by India or Pakistan.

In the beautiful and terrifying novel The City of Devi, communal hatreds escalate in India and Pakistan until the two countries feel compelled to threaten each other with nuclear weapons. At least, it starts out as a threat. Pakistan vows to take out Mumbai, and India will level Karachi. But everyone involved knows that nuclear war doesn’t really work that way.

“Nuclear bombs are like potato chips,” the author Manil Suri writes, “nobody can stop at just one. Every scenario predicts that a country under attack will launch all its weapons at once to avoid losing them.”

The populations of the two cities panic. A great exodus takes place as residents flee by car, by train, even by foot, and the wealthy try to snag the last berths on the outgoing ships. A woman and a man traverse this chaos in search of the object of their affections: it’s love in the soon-to-be-ruins. They hope against hope that the bombs won’t fall. And then an accident happens, as they so often do, and Pakistan mistakenly launches one missile at Mumbai. And India retaliates with four strikes on Karachi.

One of the characters in the novel, Mr. Cheerio, assesses the damage from some faraway perch via short-wave radio:

You might think me cold-blooded, but this is one of the best possible outcomes in terms of human cost. Only one or two cities struck, and that too almost empty — can you imagine the miniscule probability? There was bound to be an exchange, either now or in the future — things had gone too far. Every war-game simulation I’ve ever seen predicted results more final, more unthinkable, than how this seems to have played out.

Manil Suri is a mathematician, as well as a novelist, so he knows about probabilities. The devastation wrought by the nuclear exchange in The City of Devi is terrible — the incineration, the radiation, the environmental damage. But a roll of the nuclear dice could have produced much worse.

Those worse-case scenarios are what India and Pakistan — and the rest of the world — have been recently currently contemplating. After all, the most likely locus of nuclear war is not on the Korean peninsula. It’s not across the old Cold War divide in Europe. It won’t involve Israel’s secret cache of H-bombs.

If nuclear war comes, it will happen because of a calculation or miscalculation by India or Pakistan. There are fanatics on both sides who care only about vanquishing their rival by any means necessary.

Unlike in a novel, however, a catastrophic denouement to the current conflict is not inevitable.

Tit for Tat

India and Pakistan have been engaged in a tug-of-war over the territory of Kashmir since the very separation of the two countries that followed independence in 1947. China, too, has gone to war with India over its portion of the territory. Kashmir is the only place in the world where three nuclear powers have a border dispute.

In the most conflict-ridden part of the region, the Jammu and Kashmir region of northern India, a separatist movement inspired by Islamic radicalism squares off against about a half a million Indian troops. Three wars between India and Pakistan, plus the skirmishes that have taken place in between, have claimed around 70,000 lives.

Foreign Policy In Focus for more

Boeing’s homicides will give way to safety reforms if flyers organize

Wednesday, April 17th, 2019

by RALPH NADER

Wreckage lies at the scene of an Ethiopian Airlines flight that crashed shortly after take-off on March 10, 2019 PHOTO/Press TV/Duck Duck Go

To understand the enormity of the Boeing 737 Max 8 crashes (Lion Air 610 and Ethiopian Airlines 302) that took a combined total of 346 lives, it is useful to look at past events and anticipate future possible problems.

In 2011, Boeing executives wanted to start a “clean sheet” new narrow body air passenger plane to replace its old 737 design from the nineteen sixties. Shortly thereafter, Boeing’s bosses panicked when American Airlines put in a large order for the competitive Airbus A320neo.  Boeing shelved the new design and rushed to put out the 737 Max that, in Business Week’s words, was “pushing an ageing design past its limits.” The company raised the 737 Max landing gear and attached larger, slightly more fuel efficient engines angled higher and more forward on the wings. Such a configuration changed the aerodynamics and made the plane more prone to stall (see attached article: https://www.aviationcv.com/aviation-blog/2019/boeing-canceling-737-max).

This put Boeing’s management in a quandary. Their sales pitch to the airlines was that the 737 Max only received an “amended” certification from the FAA. That it did not have to be included in more pilot training, simulators, and detailed in the flight manuals. The airlines could save money and would be more likely to buy the Boeing 737 Max.

Boeing engineers were worried. They knew better. But the managers ordered software to address the stall problem without even telling the pilots or most of the airlines. Using only one operating sensor (Airbus A320neo has three sensors), an optional warning light and indicator, Boeing set the stage for misfiring sensors that overcame pilot efforts to control the planes from their nose-down death dive.

These fixes or patches would not have been used were the new 737’s aerodynamics the same as the previous 737 models. Step by step, Boeing’s criminal negligence, driven by a race to make profits, worsened. Before and after the fatal crashes, Boeing did not reveal, did not warn, did not train, and did not address the basic defective aerodynamic design. It gagged everyone that it could.  Boeing still insists that the 737 Max is safe and is building two a day, while pushing to end the grounding.

Reacting to all these documented derelictions, a flurry of investigations is underway. The Department of Transportation’s Inspector General, Calvin L. Scovel III, is investigating the hapless, captive FAA that has delegated to Boeing important FAA statutory and regulatory duties. The Justice Department and FBI have opened a criminal probe, with an active grand jury. The National Transportation Safety Board, long the hair shirt of the FAA, is investigating. As are two Senate and House Committees. Foreign governments are investigating, as surely are the giant insurance companies who are on the hook. This all sounds encouraging, but we’ve seen such initiatives pull back before.

This time, however, the outrageous corner-cutting and suppression of engineering dissent, within both Boeing and the FAA (there were reported “heated discussions”) produced a worst case scenario. So, Boeing is working overtime with its legions of Washington lobbyists, its New York P.R. firm, its continued campaign contributions to some 330 Members of Congress. The airlines and pilots’ union chiefs (but not some angry pilots) are staying mum, scared into silence due to contracts and jobs, waiting for the Boeing 737 Max planes to fly again.

BUT THE BOEING 737 MAX MUST NOT BE ALLOWED TO FLY AGAIN. Pushing new software that will allow Boeing to blame the pilots is a dangerous maneuver. Saying that U.S. pilots, many of whom are ex-Air Force, are more experienced in reacting to a sudden wildly gyrating aircraft (consider the F-16 diving and swooping) than many foreign airline pilots only trained by civil aviation, opens a can of worms from cancellation of 737 Max orders  to indignation from foreign airlines and pilots. It also displays an aversion to human-factors engineering with a vast number of avoidable failure modes not properly envisioned by Boeing’s software patches.

The overriding problem is the basic unstable design of the 737 Max. An aircraft has to be stall proof not stall prone. An aircraft manufacturer like Boeing, notwithstanding its past safety record, is not entitled to more aircraft disasters that are preventable by following long-established aeronautical engineering practices and standards.

With 5,000 Max orders at stake, the unfolding criminal investigation may move the case from criminal negligence to evidence of knowing and willful behavior amounting to corporate homicide involving Boeing officials. Boeing better cut its losses by going back to the drawing boards. That would mean scrapping the 737 Max 8 designs, with its risk of more software time bombs, safely upgrading the existing 737-800 with amenities and discounts for its airline carrier customers and moving ahead with its early decision to design a new plane to compete with Airbus’s model, which does not have the 737 Max’s design problem.

Meanwhile, airline passengers should pay attention to Senator Richard Blumenthal’s interest in forthcoming legislation to bring the regulatory power back into the FAA. Senator Blumenthal also intends to reintroduce his legislation to criminalize business concealment of imminent risks that their products and services pose to innocent consumers and workers (the “Hide No Harm Act”).

What of the near future? Airline passengers should organize a consumer boycott of the Boeing 737 Max 8 to avoid having to fly on these planes in the coming decade. Once Boeing realizes that this brand has a deep marketing stigma, it may move more quickly to the drawing boards, so as to not alienate airline carriers.

Much more information will come out in the coming months. Much more. The NASA Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS), which receives incident reports from pilots, air traffic controllers, dispatchers, cabin crew, maintenance technicians, and others, is buzzing, as is the FlyersRights.org website. Other countries, such as France, have tougher criminal statutes for such corporate crime than the U.S. does. The increasing emergence of whistle-blowers from Boeing, the FAA and, other institutions is inevitable.

Not to mention, the information that will come out of the civil litigation against this killer mass tort disaster. And of course the relentless reporting of newspapers such as the Seattle Times, the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, the Washington Post, and AP, among others will continue to shed light on Boeings misdeeds and the FAA’s deficiencies.

Boeing executives should reject the advice from the reassuring, monetized minds of Wall Street stock analysts saying you can easily absorb the $2 billion cost and move on. Boeing, let your engineers and scientists be free to exert their “professional options for revisions” to save your company from the ruinous road you are presently upon.

Respect those who perished at your hand and their grieving families.

Ralph Nader for more

Bulldozing mosques: The latest tactic in China’s war against Uighur culture

Wednesday, April 17th, 2019

by RACHEL HARRIS




A mosque in Kashgar, Xinjiang province, China
. PHOTO/Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

The levelling of ancient sites in Xinjiang, alongside mass detention, is part of an attempt to destroy an entire society

Ten years ago, I started researching Islam among the Uighurs. I spent my summers travelling around the Xinjiang region in western China. I took long bus journeys through the desert to Kashgar, Yarkand and Kucha, slept on brick beds in family homes in remote villages, stopped off at Sufi shrines, and visited many, many mosques. My husband was working with me, and we dragged our kids along for the ride. The kids were quite small and not at all interested in our boring interviews with imams, and I bribed them with treats. I have a lot of photos of them sitting in the dust outside mosques, faces smeared with ice-cream, playing on their iPads.

It was an incredible time for mosque building in Xinjiang. After the Cultural Revolution, Uighur and Kazakh Muslims began to reconnect with their faith. They resumed the traditional practices of pilgrimage and festivals at the shrines that lie deep in the Taklamakan desert. They began to learn about Islam in the wider world; people who could afford it travelled to Mecca for the hajj, and they began to rebuild their mosques. As local communities grew richer they invested in bigger and more beautiful mosques; people crowded into them for Friday prayers, and they served as living symbols of community identity and pride.

I was reminded of all this by an image posted on Twitter last week. Shawn Zhang, who did pioneering work revealing the existence of the massive network of detention camps for Muslims in Xinjiang, posted “before and after” satellite images of Keriya mosque in the southern region of Hotan. This towering architectural monument, thought to date back to 1237 and extensively renovated in the 1980s and 1990s, was photographed on a festival day in 2016 with thousands of worshippers spilling out on to the streets. By 2018 the site where it had stood was a smooth patch of earth.

Observers have called China’s actions in Xinjiang the work of a “bulldozer state”. It is an apt way to describe the ongoing work of destruction and remodelling of the region’s landscape and its people. Mosques such as the one in Keriya were an early target of the campaign against “religious extremism”. A reporter visited the eastern region of Qumul in 2017 and learned from local officials that over 200 of the region’s 800 mosques had already been destroyed, with over 500 scheduled for demolition in 2018. Residents said that their local mosques had disappeared overnight, levelled without warning.

Mosques are not the only targets. Whole cities are being redesigned to facilitate maximum security and surveillance of the local population. Sites of architectural interest such as the ancient city of Kashgar have been demolished and rebuilt to suit the needs of what the government proclaims will be a flourishing tourism industry in Xinjiang. And it’s not just the built heritage that is being destroyed. The bulldozer is also at work on communities, culture and people’s lives. Everyday religious practice in Xinjiang has been effectively banned. People are plagued by tech surveillance technology – checkpoints, facial recognition software, mobile phone scanners – and intrusive visits to family homes identify individuals as “prone to extremism”. An official list of signs of extremism includes things such as refusing cigarettes and alcohol, not watching television and contacting people abroad.

The Guardian for more