China’s Anti-Fraud App: A Tool for Surveillance in Tibet?

China Anti Fruad App

In recent developments, reports have emerged highlighting the Chinese government’s increased utilization of digital surveillance technologies in Tibet, with a particular focus on the “National Anti-Fraud Center” app. This software, ostensibly designed to combat fraud, is now under scrutiny for its potential use as a surveillance tool against the Tibetan population.

Key Highlights:

  • Tibetan residents have been urged to install the “National Anti-Fraud Center” app since 2021, with police checkpoints often enforcing its download.
  • Concerns arise from the app’s capabilities to track movements, access phone data, and potentially conduct invasive surveillance.
  • Additional surveillance methods include a big data policing platform, leveraging technology from American tech company Oracle, to monitor cultural and religious expressions.
  • The Chinese embassy in the U.S. has dismissed allegations of increased surveillance as “groundless accusations,” asserting the protection of citizen privacy under Chinese law.
  • Activists and researchers warn of a chilling effect on Tibetan society, leading to self-censorship and strained communication within the diaspora.

China Anti Fruad App

Surveillance Capabilities and Public Response

The “National Anti-Fraud Center” app has raised alarms for its extensive permissions, which could allow the Chinese government to conduct highly invasive surveillance. This includes tracking users’ movements, monitoring text messages, accessing call logs and internet histories, and even employing face recognition technologies. Such functionalities align with broader efforts to control and suppress dissent within regions like Tibet and Xinjiang.

Reports indicate that the app’s installation has sometimes been made mandatory for accessing public services or employment in certain sectors. There have been instances where refusal to download the app led to repercussions, such as difficulties in enrolling children in schools or obtaining identification cards. This coerced adoption underscores the app’s role in the government’s surveillance apparatus, extending beyond its stated anti-fraud objectives​​​​​​.

Big Data Policing and International Concerns

Further compounding the issue is the use of a big data policing platform, purportedly developed with technology from Oracle. This system aggregates data from various sources to monitor and criminalize moderate cultural, religious expressions, and language rights advocacy. Such measures are indicative of a broader strategy aimed at establishing a “totalitarian social control state,” as described by Human Rights Watch and other observers.

The international community, including human rights organizations and foreign tech companies, is called upon to reassess their involvement and complicity in these surveillance practices. The necessity for human rights impact assessments and greater privacy protections has been emphasized, alongside a call for vigilance against contributing to mass surveillance initiatives​​​​.


The integration of the “National Anti-Fraud Center” app into China’s surveillance regime in Tibet presents a concerning evolution in the state’s monitoring and control mechanisms. As digital surveillance becomes more sophisticated and pervasive, the impact on Tibetan society—marked by increased self-censorship and hindered communication—signals a distressing trend towards more intrusive state oversight. The international community’s response and the tech industry’s ethical considerations will be pivotal in addressing these developments.


About the author


Ashlyn Fernandes

Ashlyn is a young communications professional with disciplined training and apt exposure. He has been a voice for a number of media houses in the country and overseas. Travel, Technology, Consumer, Real Estate and Healthcare have been his main areas of practice using conventional messaging with effective digital strategies.