Grindcore band caught up in Chinese government surveillance storm

(Image credit: Noam Galai/WireImage)

A Japanese grindcore band has allegedly been targeted by the Chinese government in a new surveillance initiative.

According to a report by Vice, authorities at a border crossing in the northern province of Xinjiang have been secretly uploading malware to Android phones that monitors text messages, calendar entries and more than 70,000 kinds of files.

Among the files being monitored were songs by Japanese grindcore band Unholy Grave, who have a song called Taiwan Another China. The status of Taiwan remains a contentious subject, with Chinese authoriies and Taiwanese independence activists frequently clashing. Musicians and artists are banned from mentioning Taiwanese independence in public.

Maya Wang, Human Rights Watch’s senior China researcher, told Kerrang!, “[This app] provides yet another source of evidence showing how pervasive mass surveillance is being carried out in Xinjiang. We already know that Xinjiang residents—particularly Turkic Muslims—are subjected to round-the-clock and multidimensional surveillance in the region…What you’ve found goes beyond that: it 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,” continues Wang. “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 Chinese government recently censored Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody to edit out references to Freddie Mercury’s homosexuality

Dave Everley

Dave Everley has been writing about and occasionally humming along to music since the early 90s. During that time, he has been Deputy Editor on Kerrang! and Classic Rock, Associate Editor on Q magazine and staff writer/tea boy on Raw, not necessarily in that order. He has written for Metal Hammer, Louder, Prog, the Observer, Select, Mojo, the Evening Standard and the totally legendary Ultrakill. He is still waiting for Billy Gibbons to send him a bottle of hot sauce he was promised several years ago.