Orwellian Mass Surveillance!

Eight of the ten most surveilled cities in the world are in China, the two other top cities being London and Atlanta…The Chinese national police force in 2015 called for a “omnipresent, completely connected, always on and fully controllable” system of national surveillance…

China is developing a new high-tech system of mass surveillance and coercion aimed at suppression political dissent among its 1.4 billion people while forcing American and Western businesses to conform to the government’s policies if they want to operate there. The system that critics call an Orwellian national-level control system has been dubbed the Social Credit System (SCS) and was set for launch in the coming year, although recent reports from China now say the rollout could be delayed until 2021. The massive system has been tested in several major Chinese cities and uses millions of cameras linked to supercomputers containing massive databases. Face and voice recognition technology then identifies and monitors people with the goal of controlling behaviours that range from dissident political activity to jaywalking, ostensibly as part of a financial credit monitoring system similar to those used in the West.

Vice President Mike Pence called out the program in a recent speech, warning  that China’s surveillance state is “growing more expansive and intrusive, often with the help of US technology.” “By 2020, China’s rulers aim to implement an Orwellian system premised on controlling virtually every facet of human life, the so-called social credit score,” Mr Pence said. “In the words of that program’s official blueprint, it will ‘allow the trustworthy to roam everywhere under heaven while making it hard for the discredited to take a single step.'”

The basic idea of the Social Credit System is simple: the government rates all behaviour, rewarding what it prescribes as good and punishing what it determines is bad. A good social credit score comes with privileges: favourable treatment in securing jobs or discounted tuition, for example. A lower credit score results in hardships: citizens are required to pay fines are barred from buying airline tickets or are barred from travelling by high-speed train. What was hypothetically described in George Orwell’s 1984, today because of the developments of technology, facial recognition cameras, 5g connectivity, supercomputers allowing complete inter-connectivity, is materialising in China: Big Brother sees, knows, and controls all…

A December 6, 2019, Wall Street Journal article reported that by the end of 2021 there would be more than 1 billion surveillance cameras in use the world over, 85 million of which in the US. Most of these cameras are in use for safety in a commercial and school setting…

To reflect on as Christians. It clearly reveals how the way is being paved for the coming of the anti-Christian kingdom and the oppression of the church of Jesus Christ. It is striking how the language that is used to describe the surveillance of the Chinese people is language that should be reserved for God alone. The above quotations spoke of an “omnipresent” surveillance network and technology that is able to recognise even the “emotions.”

These are some extracts from an article by Rev Nathan Decker, in The Standard Bearer, May 15, 2020, Vol 96 No  16.

(James R Hamilton, written June 2020)

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