The Chinese government is building a surveillance system that will target and track foreign journalists and students


from if-you-can’t-beat them, -maybe-it’s-time-to-start-physically-beating department

The Chinese government is really, undeniably, totally evil. Anyone who says otherwise has something to sell (probably to the Chinese people or their government). Private companies and public entities have bowed and capitulated rather than face the ferocity of the government easily angered and / or at risk of losing access to a market containing a few billion people.

China has adopted its own version of capitalism to create the influence it now wields against those who offend it, no matter where they are elsewhere in the world. He sees even more opportunities in the ultra-lucrative Hong Kong and has taken direct control of the region. He refuses to recognize Taiwan’s existence as a separate country and apologizes to world leaders and professional athletes when they make the “mistake” of recognizing another lucrative region that China wishes to control directly.

It has deployed multiple layers of oppression to keep its citizens online, starting with pervasive, pervasive surveillance that is tied to “citizen scores” that limit opportunities for those the government believes are not patriotic enough. It is engaged in the erasure of its Muslim Uyghur population, using concentration camps, disappearances, brutality and a war of attrition aimed at completely eliminating these “undesirables” in the years to come.

Is China unrecoverable? I guess it all depends on how you feel about redemption. The underlying basis of Christianity is that no one is completely irrecoverable (although far too many Christians seem to believe some people are). Our penal system, in a much more timid way, confuses punishment and rehabilitation, as if the best way to change your life is to see it destroyed. China is not a Christian nation, which ends this part of the speculation. And China most likely believes that people can be punished with contrition, which will “redeem” them while still allowing the state to remain intact. Can China ever be anything other than increasingly bad versions of itself?

Sanctions and public sentences had no effect. The Chinese government is not too big to fail. Nothing ever is. Just ask the ex-USSR (who, sadly, looks more and more like their old self every day.) But it’s too big to care what other people think. The first step to redemption is to realize that you must be redeemed. Will China ever reach this starting point?

It seems unlikely. The government likes things as they are. And his vision for the future is the removal of all obstacles to complete power. But he still struggles to control the narrative, despite constantly finding new ways to limit the spread of information he doesn’t approve of and rewriting even very recent history to remove anything that might. suggest that the state is immoral, fallible or dangerous to the citizens it oversees.

Which brings us to this, which isn’t the worst thing China has done. Instead, this is just another example of the Chinese government putting aside concerns about its public image. Press freedoms are virtually non-existent in China. And now the government plans to actively target journalists who refuse to abide by its rules.

Security officials in one of China’s largest provinces have ordered a surveillance system they say they want to use to track journalists and international students among other “suspicious people,” documents examined by Reuters.

A July 29 tender posted on the Henan provincial government procurement website – first reported in the media – details plans for a system that can compile individual files on these people of interest coming to Henan using 3,000 facial recognition cameras that connect to various national and regional databases.

The monitoring system is already in place. The county has millions of surveillance cameras everywhere. All of these cameras need some form of “smart” – a form that allows the government to identify and track unwanted people. The government has previously asked Chinese tech companies to provide it with an AI capable of tracking down Uyghur Muslims. Now he wants a system that can see past masks and glasses to positively identify journalists and strangers he wants to keep track of. And he wants the system to be responsive and fast, able to search recorded footage for images that match uploaded images or biometric attributes.

This will devote a lot of money and personnel to this “problem”, ranking the targets on a scale that will easily indicate how badly the Chinese government wants journalists or international students to be expelled, missing, silenced or punished. in another way.

The system will be operated by at least 2,000 officials and police, and specifies that journalists will be divided into three categories: red, yellow, green, in descending order of risk, according to the call for tenders.

Various police forces covering the whole of Henan, whose 99 million inhabitants make it the third largest province in China by population, will be connected to the platform in order to take action in the event of a warning, the call explains. offers.

Warnings will be triggered if a reporter in Henan checks into a hotel, purchases a ticket or crosses the provincial border, according to the tender.

“Suspicious persons must be monitored and controlled, dynamic research analyzes and risk assessments must be carried out, and journalists treated according to their category,” the tender said.

This will all be perfectly legal when it is finally used. The Chinese government has spent the past few years rewriting and expanding its national security laws to justify the actions it takes against critics, activists, journalists and dissidents. He threw “fake news” into the mix to grease the wheels for direct targeting of news outlets.

And it’s not just for the locals. The Chinese government was unhappy with foreign media coverage of the flooding in the country earlier this year and has engaged in harassment of journalists covering the disaster. It is no coincidence that the proposal document also lists “foreign journalists” as targets of this surveillance, suggesting that the government wants to be able to expel members of the press from other countries as soon as their reports start to contradict. the government story.

It’s ugly and it’s out there in the open. The tender documents may never have been meant to be seen by outsiders, but details show the government is looking for ways to destroy everything except the party line. No one really needs more proof that the Chinese government is bad. But somehow, entities that should have nothing to do with it respect its rules and publicly apologize when they break them. Maybe China can’t be stopped. But the deference shown to him with alarming frequency must certainly be.

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Filed Under: china, journalists, students, surveillance


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