Grindcore is “being targeted by the Chinese government” in new surveillance initiative

It comes amid continued debates over privacy and censorship laws.

A new report claims that grindcore is now being targeted by the Chinese government in a new surveillance initiative.

The report, in Vice, claims that Android malware is being installed on the phones of individuals who are attempting to cross certain borders into China’s Xinjiang province.

According to the details in the report, border security in China are allegedly taking phones away from people by force before installing a programme which allows authorities to monitor text messages, download usernames and certain “banned” files. The software allegedly targets culture too – including the music of Unholy Grave, a Japanese grindcore band.

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As reported in Kerrang, Maya Wang, Human Rights Watch’s China researcher, the app allegedly “provides yet another source of evidence showing how pervasive mass surveillance is being carried out in Xinjiang. We already know that Xinjiang residents…are subjected to round-the-clock and multidimensional surveillance in the region…it [now also] suggests that even foreigners are subjected to such mass, and unlawful surveillance.

The Chinese government, both in law and practice, often conflates peaceful religious activities with terrorism…Chinese law defines terrorism and extremism in a very broad and vague manner. For example, terrorism charges can stem from mere possession of ‘items that advocate terrorism,’ even though there is no clear definition of what these materials may be.”

The news comes at a time when ongoing debates surrounding privacy laws and censorship in the county are growing. Earlier this year, censors removed all references to Freddie Mercury’s homosexuality in Bohemian Rhapsody.

Meanwhile, Elton John also faced similar censorship restrictions in Russia upon the release of Rocketman when several scenes were cut from the film.

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Responding to the decision, John and the movie’s makers said in a joint statement: “We reject in the strongest possible terms the decision to pander to local laws and censor Rocketman for the Russian market, a move we were unaware of until today. Paramount Pictures have been brave and bold partners in allowing us to create a film which is a true representation of Elton’s extraordinary life, warts and all.”

“That the local distributor has edited out certain scenes, denying the audience the opportunity to see the film as it was intended is a sad reflection of the divided world we still live in and how it can still be so cruelly unaccepting of the love between two people.

“We believe in building bridges and open dialogue, and will continue to push for the breaking down of barriers until all people are heard equally across the world.”

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