The Chinese Social Credit System
- 1 Connections and similarities between Western and China’s mass surveillance - Social Credit System (SCS)
- 2 How the Chinese social credit system works
- 3 The impact of the Chinese social credit system score on citizens everyday life
- 4 Human aspects with the eye of the west - Chinese Mass Surveillance
- 5 Technological aspects - China’s mass surveillance
- 6 Businesses - preparation and monitoring of developments
- 7 China's Politics - The rise and governance of the Chinese Communist Party
- 8 Sources
Connections and similarities between Western and China’s mass surveillance - Social Credit System (SCS)
Background and historical facts
Social credit is a tech-enabled way to tie political power to social and economic development that's been discussed in the country since the 1980s, an automation of chairman Mao's mass line — a term to describe how the party's leadership shaped and managed society.
This past statement describes very well how Chinese Communist Party will have the power to label not only Chinese citizens but companies and economic infrastructures and this way keep the power with this tight control on them. This system, that can shape the whole society dramatically, is only possible today in a country like China with its huge population, culture, economic and authoritarian power. An State able to elevate order and control over privacy and hard to imagine in Western countries.
Now, we will expose some of the characteristics of china that make possible the system to be enabled.
In terms of culture and society customs, we shouldn’t disregard the fact that in Chinese the notion of privacy differs from western political and legal thought. Traditional Confucian Philosophy values morality over respect for individual rights as the guiding principle for interpersonal relationships and the government of a society . For this reason, privacy traditionally meant family intimacy or shameful secrets. Chinese law, with the exception of instance-specific clauses such as protection against unlawful search or detention, generally treats the right to privacy mostly as a right to preserve one’s reputation against insult and libel.
Another historical fact connected with the late modern history and that facilitates the implementation of SCS is that Chinese people are no strangers to arbitrary and extended forms of surveillance. since the Mao era, the Chinese government has kept Dang’an, a secret dossier, on millions of its urban residents that maintains influence in the public sector to this day. the information included in the dossier ranges from one’s educational and work performance, family background, and records of self-criticism to mental health conditions, but individuals do not have access to their Dang’an. When a completely opaque system like Dang’an has been in place for decades, an intrusive program like the SCS may feel less objectionable to the Chinese public.
Research + Development
This system is partially being tested in the remote region of Xinjiang, where another different culture from the dominant Han culture, the Uighur's, is living but it is trying to be suppressed or at least controlled in a way that many Human Right’s Organisations and observers qualify as illegal.
This “control” is built on the scaffolding of mass surveillance. cameras fill the marketplaces and intersections. recording devices are placed in homes and even in bathrooms. checkpoints that limit the movement of muslims are often outfitted with facial-recognition devices to vacuum up the population’s biometric data, so the region of Xinjiang inhabit by Uighur's is a becoming a laboratory to test all this technology for future interested clients.
Comparing both realities - China and Usa monitoring
This level of surveillance as a whole can’t be compared to any democratic country but still some features are used in Western World to monitor and even oppress communities, specially if they are part of a minority.
According to the episode of crazy/genius, produced by Jesse Brenneman and Patricia Yacob, some residents of Atlantic Plaza Towers, a rent-stabilized apartment complex in East Brooklyn have reported an omnipresence of security cameras in and around their home. in fact the landlord mailed residents a letter announcing plans to install a facial-recognition-technology system at the entrance of the buildings. The letter asked tenants for their permission, but that request seemed less than genuine, for several reasons. Many tenants never received the letter—one of the mailrooms was under reconstruction, disrupting delivery services. Worse, after some residents met in the lobby to discuss the landlord’s plan, they received a threatening letter from management warning them not to gather in public spaces again.
According to Mona Patel of Brooklyn Legal Services, the landlord may have another motive that’s just as sinister as displacement: data harvesting, so they can use this data for their own benefit for the sake of “Security”.
The decay Liberalism
With the SCS, China is boldly presenting its ambition to prove the viability of big data surveillance as a substitute for independent and accountable institutions, such as banks, courts, and transparent bureaucracies, that have traditionally been considered to be prerequisites for long-term development.
Despite its vibrant market economy, China suffers from a lack of trust among market participants that often results in rule-breaking and increased transaction costs, which you can call corruption. for instance, the Chinese State needs to be able to control the Banking System to support State-Owned Enterprises, many of which enjoy preferential access to loans despite their lack of competitiveness.
There are probably many benefits in terms of management and State optimisation if we scape the fact that attempts against privacy rights but economically. You can easier hold Chinese Communist Party members accountable for bureaucratic dysfunction ranging from loss and theft of important documents to falsification of official statistics.
Also in China, since this is a huge country, the Communist Party set the guidelines of the national policy or the goals to be fulfilled and the regional bureaucracy implements all these policies at a regional level making it difficult for the central government to supervise all these implementations apart from the possible corruption these other “regional” bureaucrats may be part of too. if they make everything public then the level of transparency will help minimising the corruption without question.
It can be also important to notice that many Chinese are very hard workers and entrepreneurs. The social status and money is a very important matter for many of them. They are not naive about the fact that this model, if it works, can be exportable to other countries, and all the good money and business opportunities coming from that. This can be also a difference with the Western World, the level of competitiveness of Chinese in terms of dedication has not counter part on Western World. In fact some of its cyber governance architecture capabilities have already been exported to some countries like South Africa, Malaysia, Singapore, countries where China has a big influence for different reasons, Pakistan with whom a very close commercial relations has been set in place because of the strategic importance of Pakistan in Silk Road Project,… They use different methods to get it done like for example at international industry meetings, government officials attempt to exchange business deals for support of their proposals on technical standards. Chinese authorities have stepped up pressure on major internet companies, including those banned in china like Google and Facebook, to cooperate with its censorship policies.
To synthesise, Chinese ambition is to control and overpass the USA as the dominant country in the world and they probably understand that the way to do it is being the dominant country in all sorts of technology and specially data technology.
We can observe how Chinese government has the capacity to enable this SCS which is almost impossible now in the Western countries. So the question is if western countries, in special USA will react and implement something similar if the system works and how this policy will shape the World as we know it today.
However from a philosophical point of view, we rescue a thought from the book Seeing Like a State written by James C. Scott, ‘Although science and technology have been the drivers of modernisation, the valorisation of the scientific organisation and standardisation of human and natural life, coupled with weak civil society and authoritarianism, often unleashed a destructive force that resulted in humanitarian and ecological crises’.
As the national system is still under construction and there are no consistent statements from the Chinese government, there are currently very mixed views regarding the functioning and precise design of the social credit system.
It can be assumed that the existing filing and recording system which is already widespread will be further expanded. These lists are based on a kind of certificate of good conduct. Blacklists include, for example, those companies and individuals who have violated applicable industry laws, rules, and regulations. The “red lists”, on the other hand, report companies and people who are particularly excellent in terms of compliance with the system. Databases with lists are already publicly accessible in China.
Current blacklists and social credit are available on the “national credit information sharing platform” and the “national corporate credit information advertising system”. On this last institution website (but only available in Chinese), you can view the company's rating by searching with the company name or its "Unified Social Credit Identifier" (an 18-digit number).
Numerous news agencies say the lists will be paired with a points system. This points-based evaluation system is already being tested for several projects. Since 2015, for example, there has been the “Alibaba Ant Financial Sesame Credit System”, which provides for the voluntary participation of Chinese citizens. The rating system primarily determines creditworthiness and calculates a related personal score.
The data collection, which also involves Alibaba.com's B2B platform and the Group's Taobao online auction house, also stores information on location, workplace, family situation, bill payment, and card usage. credit. Other documented aspects include political statements and social media consumption habits.
While the Alibaba Group is often compared with Amazon, Tencent is the Chinese counterpart of Facebook. Tencent Credit, which the company has been introducing for several years, is an equivalent of Alibaba's Sesame Credit System. To generate data, the company mainly uses WeChat, which was originally an instant messaging service (similar to WhatsApp), now expanded with several other services (such as the WeChat Pay mobile payment system, comparable to Apple and Google Pay).
The Chinese coastal city of Rongcheng also adopts a point system for its social credit system, which has been in the testing phase since 2014. The population involved is 670,000. This score must be presented, for example, for credit applications or to the employer for a possible promotion.
In light of these and other projects already carried out, many experts hypothesize an imminent spread of a national social credit system based on points, even if this option has not yet been officially confirmed by the Chinese leaders. According to this concept, all the actors start from a starting score, equal to 1000 points. Those who show positive behavior increase their score (the maximum is 1300 points). Those who stand out negatively lose points (the lowest value is 600 points). By behaving in an exemplary manner, one can hope for a reward. In the worst case, those who do not act in accordance with the positive behavior defined by the government can end up on a blacklist, officially called the “heavily distrusted entities list”.
The previous Chinese social credit systems are based on some evaluation criteria, which we will most likely also find in the new national system.
Creditworthiness and consumption habits (both online and offline) are currently important evaluation factors for private individuals. This rating is influenced by a person's activities and violations of social media rules, as well as by a person's daily and social behavior. Anyone who engages in the protection of public property, promotes family cohesion, and cares for sick parents or family members can expect positive effects on the score. Other aspects relevant to the rating are criminal records, behavior in road traffic (e.g., traveling without a ticket on public transport, smoking on the train), eating behavior, and assessments by superiors and landlords.
The specific assessment factors for businesses include, for example, product quality, environmental protection (compliance with / violations of emission specifications), prices and licenses, as well as the processing and transfer of data. The assessments are also affected by the number of tax payments and compliance with payment terms. Added to these are company reviews on social media. The behavior of its members also affects the rating of an entire company. If a company has multiple branches in China, the rating of a single location can affect the rating of the entire company.
However, it is unclear how these criteria are weighted in a national rating system and whether each infringement has an immediate negative impact. According to experts, including Jeremy Daum, a serious criminal incident (fraud, theft, tax evasion) is more likely to occur first, and only then would the negative profile be supplemented by further misconduct.
At this time, it is not even clear when the ratings and blacklists need to be updated in the national system. Currently, a blacklist entry can be kept for a minimum of 6 months to a maximum of over 5 years in the event of a serious breach. The process can also be accelerated if the underlying problems are addressed in a timely manner. Companies can also appeal against a negative assessment using a Credit Rescue Commitment Letter and appropriate material to prove the inaccurate rating, requesting the cancellation of the negative assessments. You can also access additional legal and administrative avenues.
Technically, according to media reports, China's social credit system needs to be implemented through multiple online databases, digital audio and video recordings, big data analytics, and data mining as well as artificial intelligence methods. The technical assessments will not only rely on data from existing projects and systems but will also use those provided by the national digital-electronic monitoring system, called Skynet, which will generate additional information material. Currently, this system consists of nearly 600 million surveillance cameras, which are used, among other things, for facial recognition and, more recently, also for gait recognition.
The consequences of Chinese social credit are currently difficult to predict, considering that its introduction is still incomplete, and many details are currently unknown. The benefits of exemplary behavior, as already mentioned, include:
• Precedence in school admissions.
• Advantages in assigning jobs.
• Facilitated access to credit (also for businesses).
• Priority in public procurement (specifically for businesses).
• Better healthcare (e.g., shorter waiting times in hospitals, free access to fitness facilities).
• Reductions in public transport prices and car and bicycle rental.
• Faster promotions.
• Shorter waiting times for public housing.
• Tax concessions and incentives (also for companies).
Citizens and businesses that exhibit exemplary behavior and follow the regime's rules can greatly benefit from the system. On the other hand, those who clash with the values and standards of the state social credit system must expect, among other things, the following consequences:
• Refusal of licenses and authorizations (including for companies).
• Prohibition for companies to issue shares.
• No commercial activity in some market segments (for example in the field of security).
• Disadvantages of licensing of production, export, or import.
• Businesses do not receive public contracts.
• Difficulty in obtaining loans (including for businesses).
• High control rates on goods imports (for companies).
• Sanctions (for companies).
• Frequent and unannounced audits (for companies).
• Disadvantages for travel (denied booking of flights or express trains, also for companies).
• Difficulty in receiving social benefits.
• Limited use of public services.
• Impossibility of employment in the public sector.
• Access denied to private schools.
When citizens or businesses end up on a blacklist for their "crimes", their names are, even today, occasionally published online or on screens in public spaces. In addition, concrete restrictions have already been implemented. In 2018, 15 million bans prevented people with low scores from making long-distance journeys by train or plane.
Human aspects with the eye of the west - Chinese Mass Surveillance
It is very hard to understand the steps that China is taking in order to maintain its influence in the whole territory. The world’s most populated country is sitting on a 9.597 million km2 area, which is divided into 22 provinces. China believes people must sacrifice everything to make their country great. In the western side of the world, people believe they can only make a country great if they unite. In a way or another, a country’s power relies on its people. From history, unfortunately, every country learned that using absolute power on people will always fail sooner or later. For that reason, China created the Mass Surveillance system, which can control every citizen’s daily life and make them “good soldiers”.
Racism in China
The racist incident in modern China are continu to occur and it became a sequential topic, because of the government denials. It is prohibited to state any kind of discrimination against any ethnic groups, told by the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China. However, in 2018 a report has been made by the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination that claims, this Chinese law does not define what is “racial discrimination” and it lacks most anti-racial discrimination laws. Anti-Japanese sentiment remained in China, because of the pain that was made by the Japanese War Crimes, or the events like Nanjing Massacre. On the other hand, the conflict with Uyghurs is much serious. Since 2017 the government has pursued a policy, which had led to more than one million Muslims (mostly Uyghurs) being held in detention camps. This list can go all along, although it clearly visualizes China can take radical steps against religions of people that they do not consider as friends.
The day-to-day compliance
Everyone has had exams, that did not let them sleep the night before and their stomach was in pain for days. In that case, if something bad happens, we can try it again and improve. Nothing will happen. Even in the worst case, they fail the exam, but it won’t greatly influence their life. Even with those low risks, it is extremely hard to do anything else while focusing on that exam. By comparing this exam scenario with the Chinese social credit system, one can realize it requires a huge amount of care and fear in people's everyday life. Compliance and carefulness, about a wrong note or misunderstanding that can cause lives to be destroyed. Because, after a mistake, it would be impossible to get rid of the fear and extremely hard to catch up on the lost points. Unfortunately, fear can control society and China is a good example of this.
Behind the lines
The main purpose of this System was intended to create a safe, developing environment for good Chinese citizens. However, what they mean by a good citizen? A good citizen can be easily described in China. It is called AAA or AA, or A+/A/A-. They are the A’s, that can enjoy the advantages of this system. The most extraordinary among these advantages are the following three: • Giving loans according to credit points • Healthcare priority • School enrollment priority Being equal in PUBLIC healthcare is a widely spread human right in the west that is one of the main pillars of a balanced and equal society. Having school enrollment priority means, the parent must be an A citizen, which can be also motivating, but also demolishing in case of a parent did a mistake in their early life. On a lower tier level Bs are being visited regularly by officers who are giving advice about improvement, while this position is being fixed for 2 years. That means, even being a good citizen for 1 year, won’t help their mistake immediately. These times are strict and cannot be bypassed. Descending more, we can experience level C. This level is suspicious and basically harassed by the government. Officers can show up and start doing house searching for no reasons. This level is fixed for 2 years if someone manages to fall here. On the bottom, the absolutely non-creditworthy citizens are living their lives, who are mostly criminals. Although, people who are talking against the government or a political dissident are being disappeared and not even on level D. The bottom level can be “achieved” immediately after committing an intentional crime and being locked there for 5 years. Basically, if a citizen commits a crime, they are locked there at LEAST for 9 years. What is the problem? The government only punishes bad behavior, someone would think. Let’s see a few examples, how to gain and lose credit points. After starting on 1000 points, it is possible to lose 100 points by tax evasion. In order to receive 100 points, someone must donate orgasm for free or have a national award. Sending negative information on social media causes -50 points while helping the community and report illegal behaviors gave only 10. Illegally holding classes gives -40, and having more than 2 children causes -40 points. If a child joins the army, that is plus 5 points and if he wins a championship, that is plus 20. It is visible, the whole system is mostly organized to lose points and it is not balanced. It is still not clear, how the government can prove that a citizen illegally held a class or helped some kind of society. One of the main pillars of this system is snitching, that China motivates people, to be loyal to the government and not to the society. This kind of behavior can completely destroy trust and fail a society by pushing each individual to their moral edges.
Advantages of the System
On the other hand, this system can have many advantages as well. For instance, keeping eyes on criminals and being able to electronically document everything is a huge advantage. Dealing with administration and bureaucracy is simpler, therefore the country can develop faster and daily life can easier and safer. Level A can be a motivating tier for each citizen, that requires behavior and loyalism, but the previously mentioned advantages save and lift up people. Being a level B, is still not the worst scenario, since if the visiting officers realize that the citizen wants to improve, they will help him out. China can be kind to their allies and reward them, and not punish. Although, the 2 years lock is hard to accept, however, it is still possible to gain points while locked and go up to AA after 2 years. China became a safer place, however, in exchange people must give their freedom. Telling this system is wrong, from the other side of the world would not be reasonable, because no one knows how China and its citizens will perform in the “long-run”. Every system has its disadvantage, however, if people grow up in a country, where they must control their views and loyalty, they can adapt more easily. Witnessing the spread of fake news is one of the main problems in the 21st century, but in China, censorship stops it, which will bring common understandings between people. Having the same view about the world will avoid many conflicts and brings peace in some way.
Technological aspects - China’s mass surveillance
As of 2005, China has created its mass surveillance system called Skynet. This name is familiar for a lot of people since it was also the name of the Terminator movies infamous neural network-based conscious group that subjugated humanity. Although the two are nothing alike and the name is a literal translation from the original “Tianwang” meaning “justice is always done”. The existence of Skynet was revealed in 2013 by the government by which time it already consisted of more then 20 million cameras. As of 2018, the most notable surveillance mechanisms were mass camera surveillance on the streets, internet surveillance, and newly invented surveillance methods based on social credit and identity. The Chinese central government had also adopted facial recognition technology, surveillance drones, robot police, and big data collection targeting online social media platforms to monitor its citizens.
Much of what China has done regarding Internet security is an effort to extend existing control into the new medium and to strengthen political control. One can argue that they have the most regulations regarding the Internet as of any major economy. These regulations include regulating activities, access, content, the use of encryption and in some cases, the software their citizens can use. The non-existence of privately-owned infrastructure simplifies the government’s task. Their control of the Domain Name System (DNS) allows officials to identify companies and organizations using the Internet. There have been reported incidents where government personnel rerouted users of forbidden sites to approved material. The first effort to restrict information flow was done by controlling the backbone of the Internet in combination with address blocking technologies. This was the so-called “Great Firewall of China” which attempted to block certain IP addresses using firewalls and proxy servers. As it happened before, some hackers took it as a challenge and designed software or techniques that allowed the users to bypass these. As the government realized that they started to emphasize automatic monitoring and surveillance to prevent individuals from bypassing such regulations. This was called the “Golden Shield Project”, one of many “Golden Projects”. The Golden Projects are telecommunication and information infrastructure modernization initiatives. It aims to increase security forces’ surveillance and access to communication and their control of information in China. These projects are also supported by their own software and hardware creation such as an operating system and CPUs. Effective automation communication monitoring software is crucial for the Golden Shield to succeed. The Ministry of Public Safety ordered cyber cafes to install software like “Filter King” or “Mei Ping” which are remote access management and monitoring tools.
Sex and pornography
The Chinese government has been denouncing sex and pornography culture and actively establishes "sex education" for teenagers and high school students in order to prevent them from developing an interest in this culture. This type of content is completely banned in the country and is heavily monitored. Ms. Liu, a successful novelist was sentenced to 10 years of prison for including explicit homoerotic content in her work. The charge against her was “making and selling obscene material for profit”. In early 2009 seven ministries and government departments launched a campaign to crack down vulgar content on the Internet. All of these authorities have a key role in the Information Office of the State Council (SCIO) which is tasked to oversee and regulate the Internet. The Chinese authorities stressed that the sole purpose of the campaign was to provide a clean and healthy environment for minors. At the launch of the campaign, an SCIO official released a statement about what constitutes as vulgar content.
- information that promotes bloodshed, violence, or murder or consists of malicious verbal abuse, or insulting or defamatory remarks.
- information that seduces adolescents and interferes with their studies, including:
- showing of private body parts or sexual conduct whether explicitly or implicitly.
- pictures, audiovisuals, cartoons, or writings with a sexual appeal or portraying sexual abuses.
- illegal advertisements on sex tools or venereal disease treatment.
- information on sex trade or causal sex.
- information that intrudes into others’ privacy including:
- up-shirt filming and pictures that expose private body parts.
- the use of the Internet to publicize maliciously private information of other individuals.
- information that is against traditional marriage and family values, including extra-marital affairs, one-night-stands, and partner-swapping.
The campaign spokesman vowed to take tough actions against websites persisting in carrying vulgar content by naming and shaming them and punishing or even shutting some of them down. In just about two weeks 1200 websites were shut down and 3.2 million items were deleted.
China already has the world’s largest surveillance network; it deploys over half of all surveillance cameras in use around the world. From 2010 to 2019, government procurement orders for equipment like facial recognition cameras and maintenance services related to surveillance increased nearly 1,900%. In 2019 alone, the report found, nearly one-third of all Chinese counties purchased surveillance-related equipment. ChinaFile, which operates as a nonprofit organization and works with a network of China-focused analysts and researchers, published the stand-alone State of Surveillance report after reviewing 76,000 publicly available government procurement orders of surveillance technologies from 2004 to May 2020. Mass surveillance in lower-profile cities and territories reflects the 2018 launch of China's “Project Sharp Eyes”, an ambitious attempt to equip 100% of Chinese public spaces, street corners, parks, train stations, with video-monitoring capabilities and amass the data into one central platform. China's government says the project is aimed at improving public safety and security. By 2020, the Chinese government expects to integrate private and public cameras, leveraging the country's technological expertise in facial recognition technology to build a nationwide surveillance network.
Facial recognition technology has technological and systematic limitations. For example, a supervisor at an AI firm that provides research support for this technology has stated that the system of activity profile can only look for a maximum of a thousand people in one search. Additionally, the system cannot work continuously for long periods of time, requiring reactivation in cases of extreme need. This technology is integrated with others, such as big data and AI, to build national surveillance and data-sharing platforms. The smart system is equipped with facial recognition technology to record jaywalkers and non-motor vehicles that break traffic rules. Robot police have been installed in public places such as train stations, museums, and tourist attractions. The robots were developed using big data, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, and laser-based navigation. The road patrol robot can identify drivers and take photos of drivers' illegal behavior through its automatic navigation system. The advice traffic robot works in vehicle management stations and is capable of answering questions, guiding residents to counters and automatically reporting security risks and suspects to police. The accident warning robot can remind passing vehicles when police are dealing with traffic accidents. During 2019’s Spring Festival travel rush, police in many cities adopted facial recognition and robots to check tickets, search for missing people and provide passengers with safety instructions.
Businesses - preparation and monitoring of developments
Due to multiple uncertainties and extremely conflicting assessments even among experts, it is difficult to accurately judge China's national social credit system. Companies should certainly begin to develop a strategy on how to move in the future in an increasingly regulated market and work in a targeted way on a positive rating.
Firms should also inquire about what to do in case of blacklisting and how to get a negative rating removed. An important aspect to keep in mind is the fact that companies in China are subjected to very thorough assessments, which also involve their employees.
The checks within the national social credit system could also extend to internal processes and current and future business partners. Going forward it will be vital to have a certain degree of flexibility and speed of action, since permanent and sudden changes in the evaluation system cannot be ruled out. Given the current situation, it is essential for businesses to monitor the development of the social credit system constantly and carefully in China.
China's Politics - The rise and governance of the Chinese Communist Party
Today, China is the fastest-growing country in the world and the second in the world's largest economies. If we compare this China with three decades ago, the development was more than striking. The communist country launched market processes that include free movement of prices and wages through the partial recognition of private property. In recent decades, the system lifted hundreds of thousands of people out of poverty, new perspectives have opened up for both small and large entrepreneurs, which is also exploited by the Chinese.
The country opened its doors in front of investors from overseas. They reduced tariffs and by adopting World Trade Organization rules so they had become a truly open economy. Hundreds of companies are installing their plants and industries in China because of low wages and maintenance costs. In addition, China itself is a huge market where the rising and strengthening shopping habits in the middle class are no longer much different from Western ones. China is a new factor in global politics as well, in fact, China's rise in globalization has also entered a new phase were from the government to companies everyone counting on this new power. Because this great story has a downside. China is ruled by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) since 1949 until today. And they are influencing the world with their idea in every possible way.
The history of the CCP
After seizing power, the Communists has started building a Soviet-style state. At first, they seemed to be allies of the Soviets, but contradictions appeared in the ’50s between the two largest socialist states. At first, the Soviet model was followed in both domestic politics and in the economy. Trade was almost exclusively oriented towards socialist countries. They worked on five-year plans, and they began rapid industrialization, mainly the heavy industry and the military industry has been developed. The collectivization of agriculture has taken place.
In 1958, the “big leap” was announced by Mao Zedong. This program consisted of the disintegration of individual farms and personal property. The division of labor has been completely replaced by the concept of equality. In 1966, Mao and his men sparked a “Cultural Revolution” aimed at increasing the leader’s personality cult. They tried to exclude people who seemed dangerous to the party's power which has included most of the intelligentsia.
After Mao Zedong has died Deng Xiaoping become the leader of the communist party. Mao's inner circle was arrested and Deng has made several changes in domestic politics. But the communist ideas have stayed in place only the agriculture, economy, and political approach have changed. They developed their own nuclear weapons without Soviet help, and by 1967 they had already detonated a hydrogen bomb. The deteriorating relationship between Moscow and Beijing reached a low point after the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. China has broken with its role model. They established a diplomatic relationship with the United States and a trade agreement with the EU in 1979. Deng has restored the county domestic stability after the impossible Cultural Renovation model. He managed to acquire a rapidly growing economy, rising standards of living, expanded personal and cultural freedom, and market connections with the world economy.
After Deng's death in 1997 both military and political chairmen and leaders ruled a country for more than a decade. But there was one person who succeeded in both fields and has been chosen to fulfil many posts inside the CCP during the years step by step. This man is Xi Jinping who leads the country since 2012 with unlimited power. He is the mastermind behind 21st-century information warfare like Skynet and the Chinese Social Credit System.
Structure of the Chinese government
During the years CCP has become the second-largest political party with its 91 million members. It is a massive, monopolistic one-party system that dominates the political life of China. Every major governmental, political, provincial, local and economic organs are connected to it and working as a well oiled machine.
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Organization of CCP:
• President Xi Jinping:
Xi Jinping fulfils a chairman position in every major department of the CCP like the president of the People’s Republic of China, general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), and chairman of the central military commission. With the Constitutional amendments passed by the National People’s Congress in March 2018, Xi not only holds the top positions in the party and government, but is also no longer subject to a term limit. Since Mao Zedong this is the first time that a leader can rule the country without limitation.
• Central Military Commission:
The Central Military Commission (CMC) is the military corps of the party which is closely tied to the CCP and the People’s Republic of China in charge of national defense.
• The Central Committee:
The Central Committee is an organization of China’s most important leaders representing provincial government, military, state owned enterprises, and party interests. Members are selected every five years from more than 2,000 delegates to the national party congress.
The Party Constitution authorizes the Central Committee to elect the general secretary and members of the Politburo, the PSC, and the Central Military Commission.
• The Politburo:
The Politburo is elected by the members of the Central Committee and contains the 25 most senior members of the CCP. Most of its members also hold important regional leadership positions or senior roles in the government.
This group includes the most senior officials in the CCP whose official role is to conduct policy discussions and decide major issues. The PSC is China’s de facto highest ruling council.
• The Central Secretariat:
The Central Secretariat coordinates between several organizations to achieve tasks set out by the Politburo, and handles routine operations for the Politburo.
• The Central Commission for Comprehensively Deepening Reform:
Formed in 2013 to guide reforms in the economy, politics, culture, society, party building, and party discipline. It is headed by Xi Jinping and is one of the most important policymaking bodies in China.
• The Central Commission for Financial and Economic Affairs:
China’s highest economic policymaking body, and is also led by Xi.
• National Supervisory Commission:
The National Supervisory Commission (NSC) is China’s primary government body in charge of anti-corruption.
Organization of State:
• Presidency and Vice Presidency:
China’s presidency and vice presidency are formal offices. While the president is the highest representative of the state, the position itself has limited power to take independent executive action. This is why Xi is fulfilling more than one chairman posts.
• State Council:
The State Council is China’s chief administrative authority and is often referred to as the central government.
• National People's Congress The National People’s Congress (NPC) is China’s highest law-making body and holds the power to revise and change the Constitution. It supervises the operations of government and is responsible for making decisions on major national issues. The NPC also has the authority to elect, appoint, and recall from office major state officials. In practice, the NPC is a puppet for the CCP.
• Ministers, Commissions and PRC Agencies:
This is the mid-class of the Chinese leaders who are Ministers, leaders of Commissions, and Agencies. The list about these organizations is long, but it includes every sector of a state from Banking through schooling till cyberspace.
Politics and governance of Xi Jinping - The global mass surveillance
The roots of the massive surveillance system have started as early as the leadership of Mao Zedong. At this time without the technological background, the system had a simple but effective structure based on fear. Each citizen knew how it worked because they were the system. Everybody watched, inspected and listened by the other and the smallest gossip could cost your life. The second layer was the socialist work units which divided into cities where local spies reported the behaviour of the neighbourhood. Not only spies but everybody was able to report anything suspicious and the local government did not investigate the case if its is true or not.
As it was mentioned before, today's mass surveillance system was created and developed since 2005 and revealed to the public in 2013 under the governance of Xi.
Why China needs a political approach like this?
Because their goal is to become the leader of the global economy and military, influence and strengthen their communist ideals wherever it's possible. They called this politics unrestricted warfare which primary concern is how to defeat a technologically superior country like the USA without direct military conformation. These alternative method of attacks can be political warfare, lawfare, economic warfare, network warfare like hacking, media, stealing intellectual property, terrorism and for domestic control, the massive surveillance system.
Mobilising the Chinese diaspora
Around 50-60 million Chinese migrants live everywhere in the world. The CCP tries to track and categorize those migrants into two groups. Who are migrated to get rid of the communist system and PRC nationals living abroad because of studying or business. Many people from the first category may never return to the home country, or they go to jail, for the second category and for the rest China has created many ways to connect with their home country and practise the communist ideals. Overseas Chinese Affairs Offices are hosting ‘training sessions’ and ‘root-seeking summer camps’ for young overseas Chinese, targeting those identified as future community leaders. The ‘eight big plans for benefitting overseas Chinese’ programme offering Chinese community groups, mutual aid centres, education, traditional Chinese medicine, cultural exchange, businesspeople and information services. The psychological techniques used by the CCP have been refined over decades, but most important who they are able to track, the mass surveillance system continues.
The ecology of espionage - Influence and spying
China trains their diplomatic and intelligence services to facilitate the theft of intellectual property. In addition, the united front apparatus and the intelligence agencies access to overseas Chinese communities where they recruit both agents of influence and informants and spies. Students, business people, professionals and even tourists are encouraged to provide information to embassies and consulates. They call it ‘thousand grains of sand’ strategy.
Xi Jinping highlighted the need to create a Chinese flagship media with strong international influence. Huge resources have been devoted to this to exceed $10 billion annually. Because China is a huge financial supporter in several countries around the world, sharing Chinese propaganda not only inside but outside the country is accessible. The CCP uses these channels for influencing the western world with persuasion techniques, financial incentives, or threats to uncooperative outlets and foreign correspondents. Also, to spread positive news about China and Xi.
The list of techniques from economy through schooling to diplomacy is long. I have highlighted just the most important parts which are connected to the mass surveillance system. But one thing is sure. China is influencing, controlling and overseeing everything which it gets access to with high precision and outstanding technology.