China is developing a new high-tech system of mass surveillance and coercion aimed suppressing political dissent among its 1.4 billion people, while forcing American and Western businesses to conform to the government’s communist 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 surveillance cameras linked to supercomputers containing massive databases. Face and voice recognition technology then identifies and monitors people with the goal of controlling behaviors 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 U.S. technology.”