As the 2020 deadline approaches, China’s Social Credit System still remains largely in development. There are some signs, however, that the system could soon incorporate more forms of data collection. For example, Chen says, the China Credit website already encourages users to log in by scanning their faces, though it’s not mandatory. “So there will be a facial-recognition element if the government can persuade people to use that more,” she explains.
Exposing how China is creating the world’s largest prison.
“People started to literally disappear, communities were being emptied of adult men and women.” China researcher
It’s a remote corner of the world, but what is taking place there is nothing short of breathtaking.
“My older brother, younger brothers and two younger sisters, five siblings were all taken by… masked police. Heavily armed Special Forces police raided their home and taken (sic) them by covering their face and shackling them in front of the kids.” Australian Uyghur
Xinjiang province is a vast area of deserts and mountains where the ancient Silk Road once ran. Today its Uyghur population is being systematically rounded up with estimates of as many as a million citizens being held in detention.
The smart watches use chips developed and designed by BeiDou, a Chinese satellite navigation system, to pinpoint a child’s position within 10 meters.The news: Seventeen thousand students at 60 elementary schools in Guangzhou received fancy new gadgets for their wrists last week, according to the Guangzhou Daily (link in Chinese).
How one BBC correspondent was locked out of China’s top messaging app after posting photos.
Some of the technologies pioneered in Xinjiang have already found customers in authoritarian states as far away as sub-Saharan Africa. In 2018, CloudWalk, a Guangzhou-based tech startup that has received more than $301m in state funding, finalised an agreement with Zimbabwe’s government to build a national “mass facial recognition programme” in order to address “social security issues”. (CloudWalk has not revealed how much the agreement is worth.) Freedom of movement through airports, railways and bus stations throughout Zimbabwe will now be managed through a facial database integrated with other kinds of biometric data. In effect, the Uighur homeland has become an incubator for China’s “terror capitalism”.
This provides another perspective to the report from. This is another piece exploring the rise of .
Children are interrogated. Neighbors become informants. Mosques are monitored. Cameras are everywhere.
What’s the truth behind the Chinese tech giant’s success?,
The speed at which all this is happening in China makes me wonder why we speak about ten year plans in Melbourne, Australia.
In part this scenario of a station in a field reminds me of the discussion of the development of infrastructure before people in Stockholm:
In contrast, places like Vällingby, a Swedish suburb outside Stockholm built in the 1950s, were sited around a new Metro station. Building rail infrastructure through built-up areas is extremely expensive, but building it through farmland, before new neighborhoods are built, is comparatively cheap.
China is building up the African nation of Zambia, but people are worried about what is riding on the deal with Beijing for the Zambians.
Liu Ruumin came to Zambia from China 20 years ago … As a young man, he took a job with a state-owned construction company at a time before the internet had connected Zambia to the rest of the world.
This investment, both private and state, is nothing new and is a part of a long-term strategy.
It would be fascinating to see a breakdown of Chinese investment and ownership from around the world.
Social credit will be affected by more than just internet browsing and shopping decisions.
Who your friends and family are will affect your score. If your best friend or your dad says something negative about the government, you’ll lose points too.
Who you date and ultimately partner with will also affect social credit.
via Audrey Watters
Food historians have pointed to the province’s hot and humid climate, the principles of Chinese medicine, the constraints of geography, and the exigencies of economics. Most recently neuropsychologists have uncovered a link between the chili pepper and risk-taking. The research is provocative because the Sichuan people have long been notorious for their rebellious spirit; some of the momentous events in modern Chinese political history can be traced back to Sichuan’s hot temper.
The act of eating chili peppers is an acquired taste in Mexico. Children do not come out of the womb craving a scorching hot cuisine. They’re trained, by their families, to handle the chili’s burn with small doses that gradually increase.
Personally, I love chilies, but never remember been ‘trained’ when I was young. I think I like the sensation of experiencing what I eat, not just tasting it.
Diplomacy is often viewed as a way of smoothing the friction points between states, but international relations are becoming increasingly assertive and highly personal.
China is reversing the commonly held vision of technology as a great democratizer, bringing people more freedom and connecting them to the world. In China, it has brought control.
As Future Tense captured in the first of a two part series, China is an emerging player when it comes to overseas aid. The problem with this is that much of it is not actually ‘aid’ money. As Brad Park explains:
China actually provides a lot of state financing that is more commercially oriented and is provided market terms or close to market terms. And so much of the money in fact that is going to Russia is not aid in the strict sense of the term, they are loans offered on close to market rates, and China is offering those loans in part because it’s one of the world’s largest net creditors, it’s sitting on very large reserves, it wants to earn an attractive financial return on its capital, and so it has an aggressive overseas lending programs. So China wants those loans to be repaid with interest.
This is also a part of China’s growing international expansion.
In part two, Samantha Custer, Abhijit Banerjee and Stephen Howes discuss the sustainable development goals developed by the United Nations. These provides the policy and guidance for how aid should be spent.
As private enterprise takes an increasingly prominent role in the creation and management of ostensibly public urban space, as neo-authoritarianism spreads unchecked, and as pervasive technology weaves itself ever more intimately into all the sites and relations of contemporary life, all of the material conditions are right for Chinese-style social credit to spread on other ground. Consider what Sidewalk Labs’ neighborhood-scale intervention in Toronto implies—or the start-up Citymapper’s experiments with privatized mass transit in London, or even Tinder’s control over access to the pool of potential romantic partners in cities around the world—and it’s easy to imagine a network of commercial partners commanding all the choke points of urban life. The freedoms that were once figured as a matter of “the right to the city” would become contingent on algorithmically determined certification of good conduct.
One of the consequences that Greenfield shares is the impact such changes would have on urban environments:
A dominant current of urbanist thought in the West sees order in cities as uncontrived—an emergent outcome of lower-level processes. Canny observers like Georg Simmel, Jane Jacobs, and Richard Sennett hold that virtually everything that makes big-city life what it is—and big-city people who they are—arises from the necessity of negotiating with the millions of others with whom city dwellers share their daily environments. In cities that are set up to afford this kind of interaction, people learn to practice what the sociologist Erving Goffman called “civil inattention.” They acknowledge the presence of others without making any particular claim on them. This creates the streetwise, broadly tolerant urban character of big, bustling cities from Istanbul to Berlin to Dakar, Senegal.
I am reminded of Steven Johnson and his discussion of where good ideas come from.
via Cory Doctorow
We take a look at three sectors in which China is beginning to dominate: trade, artificial intelligence and energy.