Recently, a short video clip went viral on major social media platforms in China, titled “Is your WeChat being surveilled? One minute to teach you how to turn it off”. According to the video, WeChat will monitor the user’s chat information and push ads based on the surveilled content. However, on June 1st, WeChat official account “Rumor Filter” published an article in response: “The chat content belongs to the user’s communication secret and personal privacy. WeChat will not monitor the user’s chat history, and Tencent (WeChat’s holding company) will not push ads by monitoring the user’s chat history”.
Yes, it is an official response, yet it is so official that nothing can be trusted. Whatever is said by the officials, the contrary will end up being true. This reminds me of the comment made by LI Yanhong, “I believe that Chinese people are more open to privacy issues and relatively less sensitive. If they can use privacy in exchange for convenience, safety, or efficiency, in many cases, they are willing to do so.” While the truth is – we have no choice but to exchange our privacy for convenience. From my experience, whenever downloading any APPs to my phone, I need to “agree” to the user’s privacy statement to proceed to the next step to use the APP.
Figure 2 LI Yanhong’s comment on Chinese people’s view on privacy
The officials are treating Chinese people as idiots because they know the Chinese people are deprived of any rights to protect themselves. The whistleblower, Li Wenliang, a Chinese ophthalmologist who worked at Wuhan Central Hospital, was one of the first six people who warned others of the potential outbreak of a suspected Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in Wuhan on December 30, 2019. The outbreak was later confirmed not to be SARS but COVID-19. Ironically, shortly after he issued the warning in the WeChat group, Wuhan police summoned and admonished him for “making false comments on the Internet about unconfirmed SARS outbreak”. Even though CCP offered a “solemn apology” to his family and revoked the admonishment of him due to public pressure, the incidence leads me to ask why Dr. Li’s warning via a WeChat group will lead the local police to admonish him if his WeChat was not being monitored at all?
Figure 3Dr. LI Wenliang’s admonishment issued by Wuhan police
In fact, the CCP administration is plotting censorship with the help of mass surveillance network on Chinese people. So far, CCP has installed millions of cameras around the country – almost everywhere, even in the restrooms, intending to identify and track 1.4 billion people via facial recognition and artificial intelligence. The companies involved in this plan include but are not limited to HK Vision, Sense Time, Huawei, and ZTE. Meanwhile, CCP’s surveillance ambition is quickly extending worldwide with an innocent name of 5G technology. Still, under the table, the dirty deal is going on.
Figure 4A video showing facial recognition software in use at the headquarters of the artificial intelligence company Megvii in Beijing. Source: Gilles Sabrie for The New York Times