CHINA are keeping a secret watchlist of hundreds of US travelers – including Ashanti – who travel through Shanghai’s main airport, it has been reported.

Nearly 700 Americans, including federal workers, CEO’s, and industry executives, have been included in the database, providing an unsettling insight into Beijing’s data collection efforts.


Hundreds of US travellers who passed through the Pudong International Airport are included on the secret watchlistCredit: Getty

A spreadsheet detailing the names, birth dates, and passport numbers of 697 US citizens – including children – was seen by The New York Post, listing travelers who were flagged passing through Pudong International Airport in 2018 and 2020.

The unwarranted watch list recorded the journeys of executives from international corporations including Apple, Microsoft, Pfizer, Merrill Lynch, and GE Healthcare at an immigration checkpoint, according to the publication.

And it seems the suspicious spreadsheet doesn’t discriminate, regardless of status, as R&B icon Ashanti was included in the roundup.

Her full name, Ashanti Shequoiya Douglas, and her birthdate was listed, stating she had passed through the airport in August 2018.

The database, amassing intelligence on a total of 5,000 foreigners including children as young as nine since 2017, is supervised by China’s main police and law enforcement sectors.

The intrusive information record was stored on servers at the Shanghai Public Security Bureau, which is overseen by the Ministry of Public Security in Beijing.

Among the individuals on the watchlist, there is also a string of researchers and professors from US universities, including a high-ranking administrator at New York University Shanghai.

High ranking execs, CEO's, and academics were among those included on the list


High ranking execs, CEO’s, and academics were among those included on the listCredit: AFP
R&B icon Ashanti was among those listed on the database


R&B icon Ashanti was among those listed on the databaseCredit: Getty

College students, tourists and a documentarian mom-of-two who divides her time between California and South Korea were also listed.

It is not clear whether the catalogue and the people on it was collected for specific reasons or chosen at random.

UK and Australian intelligence agencies have begun investigations into the surveillance documents after it was revealed that hundreds of their citizens were also included on the watchlist last week.

It was leaked to an Australia-based cyber-security firm, Internet 2.0, who suggest it provides “an unprecedented view on how China is building its surveillance state with technology and how it leverages data as a means of control.”

CEO’s Robert Potter and David Robinson continued in a statement: “This system gives us insight into the ambitions of China to collect what it can, to impose its will within its jurisdiction and to violate norms of privacy and accountability.”

Despite a string of countries, including the US, monitoring suspected terrorists and criminals on watchlists, it appears China is also recording data on trusting travelers.

Around 150 British businessmen, doctors, and teachers are part of the watchlist during a six-month period in 2018, according to UK publication The Telegraph.

It provides unsettling insight into Beijing's data collection efforts targeting foreigners


It provides unsettling insight into Beijing’s data collection efforts targeting foreignersCredit: Getty

Two Virgin Atlantic pilots, an Army officer, and head of an advertising agency, Margaret Johnson OBE, who has an office in Shanghai were also among those documented.

It also ranked 7,600 Uyghur Muslims in Shanghai, who were reportedly marked as “terrorists”, according to The Telegraph. MI5 have launched an investigation into the dossier.

Security officials Down Under are also probing the documentation after 161 Aussies were included on the list, according to a report from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Former Office of National Assessments director-general and ambassador to Korea and Japan, Geoff Miller, was marked during a 2018 trip to Shanghai with his wife, it was reported.

It is not known if US authorities have been privy to the data or whether an investigation is underway.

Internet 2.0 explained how this shows “how China blurs the boundaries between law and order, counter-terrorism and political crimes.

“Within this system there is limited restraint as all are collected on.”

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