First in a series
While the Wuhan virus pandemic has the world in its deadly grip, there is another Chinese virus that is just as problematic and even more dangerous – China’s authoritarian and imperial ambitions.
It’s hard to think about China as an imperial country. After all, it was ravaged in the 19th Century by foreign powers that sought to carve up the country. But that was not always the case.
China was once an imperial power and had many vassal states and while its current Communist leaders might eschew imperialism and proffer instead Panda diplomacy, make no mistake about it the country’s leaders have global aspirations.
Now, China’s desire to be a world leader is, in and of itself, not cause for concern. Nations can be a force for good. But China is led by Communists who desire power at all costs and seek absolute control to maintain their power.
It begins with control of the people and the extent to which the Chinese Communist Party controls every aspect of life is both mind boggling and frightening.
The CCP’s Ministry of Public Security has established six internal spy programs:
1. Big Intelligence – All of China’s populace can be reviewed in 12 minutes, every person on its wanted list in four minutes, every diver’s license in three minutes. Surveillance cameras are everywhere, tracking the movement of people.
2. The Social Credit System – All citizens are assigned a rating which affects their ability to get a loan, job, buy a house and travel. If you are friends with someone with a low rating, it lowers yours. Ditto with family members. It keeps the ants in line.
3. Internet Police – China more than half a million internet trolls hired to promote and defend the CCP online propaganda locally and globally. That’s how authorities cracked down on virus whistleblowers.
4. Taxi spying – All taxis are equipped with surveillance cameras and tracking devices. Authorities can follow you anywhere.
5. Gadget spying – Surveillance programs are embedded in cellphone, computers and tablets. This is at a level below the operating system and immune to detection and removal.
6. Minority Report – Authorities are now using the surveillance systems in place and the social credit system to go after “pre-crimes” and are arresting people on the basis of suspicions. Netizens who were getting information on the virus fell prey to that program.
The CCP officials, in other words, are master spies. They track every thing their citizens do and even think and police wrong thought. That is how they maintain order and control and assure they maintain their positions.
China’s spying prowess, however, is not limited to attempts to control the local populace.
Tomorrow, we’ll take a look at China’s international spying and strategic investments.
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