Darren Byler is a post-doctoral fellow at the Center for Asian Studies, University of Colorado, Boulder, where he studies the effects of Chinese infrastructure and security technology as part of the China Made Research Initiative. His book project titled “Terror Capitalism: Uyghur Dispossession and Masculinity in a Chinese City” (Duke University Press, 2021) focuses on the effects of digital cultural production, surveillance industries and mass internment in the lives of Uighur and Han male migrants in the city of Urumchi, the capital of the Uighur Autonomous Region (Xinjiang). He has published research articles in the Asia-Pacific Journal, Contemporary Islam, Central Asian Survey, The Journal of Chinese Contemporary Art and contributed essays to volumes on the ethnography of Islam in China, transnational Chinese cinema, travel and representation. In addition, he has provided expert testimony on Uyghur human rights issues before the Canadian House of Commons Subcommittee on Human Rights and writes a regular column on Turkic Muslim society and culture for the journal SupChina.
Since May 2014, when Chinese Communist Party Secretary Zhang Chunxian announced the People’s War on Terror in the Uighur region, Chinese technology firms have received billions of dollars in Chinese state capital to build a comprehensive Muslim “re-education” system in Northwest China. Over the same period of time they have created a wide range of computer vision and data analysis tools which have the potential to change forms of policing and incarceration in many places around the world.