China’s top secret service agency, the MSS, is using AI and facial recognition to create instant dossiers on every person of interest and it could help track missionaries.
According to a recent New York Times report, China’s premier intelligence agency is stepping up their efforts to monitor foreigners of interest, like diplomats, military officers and intelligence officers. The new system can instantly create a specific dossier on any single person of interest, tracking their movements, identifying their contacts, tracing their networks, and potentially revealing vulnerabilities that can be exploited.
China’s aggressive new spy-tracking program is most likely being used to identify and track foreign believers. China has often shown that they identify the activities of foreign Christian missionaries as acts of espionage.
This year, two new laws took effect in China that can easily categorize missionaries as spies. The two new laws are the new Espionage Law and Foreign Relations Law.
The new Espionage Law is extremely dangerous for foreign missionaries, because it is defined to include “helping an espionage organization” and “attempts to illegally obtain data related to national security.”
The new Foreign Relations Law says that foreign organizations in China “must not endanger China’s national security, harm the societal public interest, or undermine societal public order.”
These two new laws are loosely defined, so that they can mean whatever China want them to mean in order to charge missionaries as spies. Canadian Kevin Garratt, for instance, was a missionary in northeast China before he was detained in 2014 and accused of being a spy.
BTJ will host a hackers conference next month to try and determine the best methods for missionaries to use that can help limit the amount of exposure they have while working and traveling in China.