A distinguished senior fellow at the Gatestone Institute, Gordon G. Chang, is warning that China’s “social credit” system soon will be applied to international corporations and visitors.
In fact, everyone.
The “social credit” system uses computers, algorithms, hundreds of thousands of spy cameras operating around the nation and more to assign to every person “a constantly updated score based on observed behaviors.”
It is intended, Chang explains, to control the entirety of the Chinese population by handing to the Communist Party virtually every detail of individuals’ lives and the power to grant rewards or impose punishments.
For example, officials prevented journalist Liu Hu from taking a flight because he had a low score, Chang noted.
“I can’t buy property. My child can’t go to a private school. You feel you’re being controlled by the list all the time,” Lu said.
“By 2020, Chinese officials plan to have about 626 million surveillance cameras operating throughout the country,” Chang said, all feeding details into computers for the nation’s “social credit” system.
Jaywalking and caught on camera? Down goes your score.
“Although officials might hope to reduce jaywalking, they seem to have far more sinister ambitions, such as ensuring conformity to Communist Party political demands. In short, the government looks as if it is determined to create what the ‘Economist’ called ‘the world’s first digital totalitarian state,'” Chang wrote.
And, he explained, the system “will surely be extended to foreign companies and individuals.”
“Let us remember that Chinese leaders this year have taken on the world’s travel industry by forcing hotel chains and airlines to show Taiwan as part of the People’s Republic of China, so they have demonstrated determination to intimidate and punish,” he said.
“Once the social credit system is up and running, it would be a small step to include non-Chinese into that system, extending Xi’s tech-fueled totalitarianism to the entire world.”
He wrote: “The dominant narrative in the world’s liberal democracies is that tech favors totalitarianism. It is certainly true that, unrestrained by privacy concerns, hardline regimes are better able to collect, analyze, and use data, which could provide a decisive edge in applying artificial intelligence. A democratic government may be able to compile a no-fly list, but none could ever come close to implementing Xi Jinping’s vision of a social credit system.”
He said it all dates back to 1995 when then-President Jiang Zemin demanded “informatization, automation and intelligentization.”
“Given the capabilities they are amassing, they could, the argument goes, make defiance virtually impossible,” Chang wrote.