Freedom of men under government is to have a standing rule to live by, common to every one of that society, and made by the legislative power erected in it; a liberty to follow my own will in all things, where that rule prescribes not: and not to be subject to the inconstant, uncertain, arbitrary will of another man.
This week’s post on Xinjiang and the many things one can do there to be thrown into a political reeducation camp has been picked up by Foreign Policy. The FP version of the article has been published under the title “48 Ways to Get Sent to a Chinese Concentration Camp.”
The material will be familiar to readers of this blog as most of the article is a direct adaptation of an earlier blog post here. However, I did make one significant point in the FP version of the essay that I did not make here:
A central element of this campaign is uncertainty. It is difficult to judge which of these items are official policy and which are simply the result of ad hoc decisions made by local officials. This is likely by design. One Uighur interviewee told HRW how he simply stopped using his smartphone because he could not tell which websites were allowed and which might incriminate him; another described how she stopped talking to neighbors and strangers altogether because she did not want to unintentionally say something that might bring the police to her door. Vagueness breeds fear. Fear makes the people subject to the Communist Party’s campaigns easier to control.
I wish I could claim credit for this particular insight, but as the epitaphs placed at the top of this post evince, it is an old one. It does, however, help make sense of some of the more mysterious items on the list.
 Tanner Greer, “48 Ways to get Sent to a Chinese Concentration Camp,” Foreign Policy (13 September 2018)