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The Chinese don't have to be covert about their tracking activities. It's part of their society, and everyone (at least outside of China) is aware of it, and nobody inside of China is allowed to talk about it.

People inside China are very aware of it; most just don't care that much. They (willingly, if not happily) trade what westerners might consider pillars of freedom for widespread prosperity.

When you consider the progress China has made over the last 50 years from the perspective of a typical Chinese citizen, you can see why they make that bargain.

I hear this often, but it kinda implies they prospered because they had this obnoxious rules, i fail to see if this is actually true. Wouldn't they still be better without this tyranical bullshit?

I don't mean to imply that modern-day China exists because the state is organized the way that it is, only that it does exist this way and that leaves little incentive for Chinese citizens (within the current climate) to upset the apple cart.

They would, but that requires a fight against a party apparatus of 1+ million people, that controls the police, secret services and the army. And that in 1989 did what it did in Tiananmen and wouldn't be afraid to do it again, I'm pretty sure.

So success would be far from guaranteed.

If I'd be Chinese I'd probably do the same trade they did.

After prosperity, keeping the lid on as hard as it is now is much, much harder. And if changes don't come easily and naturally, I guess you can emigrate.

So then maybe they aren't so "happy" to make the trade, but afraid for their status and lives if they don't obey?

Happy, probably not. Content? Most likely.

And what makes most people happy is having a rich personal life, rather than achieving their political goals, I've found.

Bread and circuses stave off revolution.

From a viewpoint of a person that was able to move from the poor dirty village to the city, get a well-paid job at the factory and get a mortgage for an apartment in a 40-floor building, the government is doing everything right. Also this person has probably to work all over the clock to repay the mortgage so he has not much time to think about politics.

Imagine there were no strict rules.

There would now be political rallies, protests, different factions of people wanting different things, etc.

That distracts from economic progress.

It's fairly clear to me that in many cases freedom of speech and similar rights leads to less stability and less economic growth.

Taiwan has prospered just fine without pervasive digital surveillance.

Chiang Kai-Shek and Deng Xiaoping were different leaders who left different legacies; who knows what might've happened if Deng had been 15 years younger?

(I'm specifically noting those two because their deaths were epochal events in the modern political history of both countries.)

>People inside China are very aware of it; most just don't care that much.

The OP said they don't talk about it. Doesn't mean they don't care about it much. It is simply they don't have any means, tools or action they could do to change it.

> they don't have any means, tools or action they could do to change it.

This isn't true at all. China is one of the only places in the developed world where the populace legitimately could topple the government, simply by sheer mass.

Why do you think the party works so diligently to quell dissent and organization while going to extreme lengths to prop up the economy? It would be nearly impossible to hold on to power if the people turned, but nobody is interested in that while they (or their children) can live in a nice apartment and take a holiday in Europe once in a while.

Just as a thought experiment... would Chinese people be okay with say an American company that openly spies on them in virtue of a "cool" product that they would not have had otherwise?

I'm just trying to understand this attitude towards acceptance of losing privacy...

Or is just given up after years of losing to their government?

I guess that when you are saying that nobody is allowed to talk about it, you are talking about politics because I would have broken the law so many times otherwise.

I have been living there for a while and Chinese people can talk about it as freely as elsewhere and most of the people I know are very aware of it.

The opinions about tracking/surveillance are not the same than in the west though and it is much more accepted here. In my social circle, a large majority of Chinese people would prefer security over privacy or just don't really care.

Hard to believe for a westerner like me, but people are happy about it so far.

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