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>Schools are shaming students with low app scores. Government offices are holding study sessions and forcing workers who fall behind to write reports criticizing themselves. Private companies, hoping to curry favor with party officials, are ranking employees based on their use of the app and awarding top performers the title of “star learner.”

>Many employers now require workers to submit daily screenshots documenting how many points they have earned.

That is some scary stuff.

They don't need to integrate it into the social credit system if employers use it and give them the same results.




> forcing workers who fall behind to write reports criticizing themselves

The struggle session returns: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Struggle_session

Scary indeed. Imagine a China as tightly controlled as NK but far far more powerful.


Could we hinder them by not making the tools that enable them to do that?


China has the highest quality human capital in the world and a huge population. There is nothing we can do that they cannot. It is a shame how things are turning in China. There was always the potential for greater authoritarianism and it seems to be arriving.


> There is nothing we can do that they cannot.

Well, we can think freely and innovate, a problem China seems to struggle with. You can't command people to be inventive. You can, however, command people to copy other people's ideas.


China has had a bad century (they call it "century of humiliation" [1]) but before that it was the biggest economy in the world. Don't underestimate them.

Yes, in many industries they are still heavily stealing IP but the notion that China is just copying the west is outdated. An increasing amount of intellectuals stays in China instead of emigrating to the west. They already are world leaders in key areas like computer hardware (shenzen), and are working very hard at becoming world leaders in other areas.

There are two futures ahead of us: either the regime falling and China ruling over the world like the US did in the 20th and early 21st century, or the regime remaining in power and China's head of state ascending to global dictator.

[1]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Century_of_humiliation


> or the regime remaining in power and China's head of state ascending to global dictator

Doubt it. To conquer the world these days, you'd have to have an anti-ICBM defense system that can stop thousands of nukes coming at you in every direction. The technological gap between the attacking country and the other one has to be absolutely massive for that too happen. I doubt the US with NATO would even risk that against north korea even with our massive technological advantage.

Edit: When I said "To conquer the world these days", i was referring to the original comment about one country becoming a "global dictator".


> To conquer the world these days, you'd have to have an anti-ICBM defense system that can stop thousands of nukes coming at you in every direction

Or you'd just need to do what the US did in the Cold War to become—for a time—the sole superpower: run a global race and have the opposition spend themselves into collapse competing with you, and swoop in and pick up the pieces; you probably need a couple cycles of that to establish durable de facto control, but if you've got the population and resources and aren't just leveraging an advantaged industrial position that the competition will close over time at the outset, being able to do multiple cycles while growing an advantage isn't implausible.


> Or you'd just need to do what the US did in the Cold War to become—for a time—the sole superpower

The US current superpower status is in no way what I would consider "conquer the world" nor the original quote I cited which was for being a "global dictator"


> To conquer the world these days, you'd have to have an anti-ICBM defense system

Yeah, nukes have led to a new phase of power conflicts where you don't have open style warfare any more amongst nuclear powers. I didn't mean that. The US didn't have to wage war against every country on earth after WW2 to become as powerful as it is now. The cold war, CIA, economic advancements, etc. were enough.

I just see two problems: Western economies being stagnant while China expanding influence across the world with the OBOR project.

It took hundreds of years for a small island north of Europe to build a global world spanning empire. But eventually, they were successful. China once had the capability to do this themselves but they decided not to, leaving the stage to the europeans. China hasn't even looked anywhere beyond their own country until a few years ago. They literally only have one military basis outside of the mainland, in Djibouti next to the bases of a bunch of other countries. They command far more wealth and power than England did when they started their colonial project so I'm sure that China will be able to pull it off far more quickly.


> The US didn't have to wage war against every country on earth after WW2 to become as powerful as it is now.

The US isn't even remotely close to a global dictator so what is your point?

> Western economies being stagnant while China expanding influence across the world with the OBOR project.

Western economies are definitely not stagnant and China's economy should be taken with a grain of salt.

> They command far more wealth and power than England did when they started their colonial project so I'm sure that China will be able to pull it off far more quickly.

Nominally sure, but relatively is what matters and China "has" 2/3rd the GDP of both the EU and the US currently. Add in other countries like South Korea, Japan, the UK, Canada, and Australia which are all more closely aligned with US economic policy and defense treaties like NATO and the Five Eyes; I find it hard to see China colonial projects having much effect.


so uhhh how much are you paid per word and per post ? hmmm


"Century of humiliation" is the party's favorite and one of the most successful propaganda ever, and you seem to have bought into too much media hype, the gross overhype of China's EV industry is the latest example of the media' unquenchable thirst for attention.


> Yes, in many industries they are still heavily stealing IP but the notion that China is just copying the west is outdated.

It’s not outdated. You’ve contradicted yourself in the same sentence. You would have be right if XJ didn’t cripple China with his own vanity. China’s destiny went from future global innovator to staying a giant copier as XJ’s power rose.

Innovation cannot exist with lack of free speech and free thought.


What about the Soviets? Wouldn't it be fair to say they accomplished a lot scientifically with relatively little liberty?


imo Russians culturally are way more individualistic which helps in being rebellious which in turn helps with innovation. Mainland Chinese culture is not so much, so an authoritarian government would exacerbate the problem of conformity and group mind


Disciplined Minds by Jeff Schmidt


Soviet Union was highly authoritarian, but was able to keep innovations coming where it mattered, that is, around military technology. The word to google is "sharashka".

OTOH Soviet Union sucked at innovation everywhere else, which was costly. Inability to feed the population when still keeping up in the arms race is what killed Soviet Union.

China is seemingly quite far from such a situation, though.


North korea is still a bit like that. Everything is underfunded to the degree that you are aloted a strip of a public road that you have to keep clean with brooms including in winter (something usually done by the state), except for their nuclear research department.


What control does the west have over their tools?

They write the software themselves. They make the devices themselves.

The West has 0 leverage.


> 0 leverage

How about trade policies that take into account human rights?

Unless you include western politicians and newspapers among "their tools". In that case, you're right, we have no hope of exercising leverage.


Well, in TFA, the app in question is distributed via Apple’s & Google's app stores.


If Apple took that app down, they'd disappear in the blink of an eye. Doesn't make it right to keep it up but they have no power whatsoever. It's the basic dilemma in any authoritarian society: do you want to protect your values or yourself. Choose one, and often you get neither. Being able to protect both is a luxury.


If they made the ad again today, the hammers would be thrown in the other direction.


The Google Play Store is not available in China; Android apps are distributed in China through a variety of Chinese-based app stores.

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/01/17/google-misses-out-on-billion...


Ah sorry, I assumed Android == Google Play Store.


And you can't rate & review this app on Apple App Store.[0] I think only some apps made by Apple have this privilege.

[0]https://imgur.com/a/60gdRZs


That's interesting...and disturbing.

Why? Someone should press Tim Cook about this.


No they shouldn't. If anything this protects people. Just imagine people getting "caught" rating this. If it wasn't impossible, people might accidentally rate it badly.

This would do nothing to stop this, but might really be a problem for them.


A much more effective strategy would be providing tools to empower those with the desire to resist or circumvent the system.


There's no technical panacea to this undesirable behavior. Sanctions against party elites would be a start by preventing them from banking or traveling freely.


No, but falsifying successful app activity is apparently how some resist the Chinese government.


Related to schools, something similar happened in India with Prime Minister Modi's broadcasts to students, ostensibly on giving them tips on how to perform better in exams.

> In many schools and colleges across the country, viewing the Pariksha pe Charcha 2.0 event broadcast was compulsory.

> The University Grants Commission required colleges to upload information on students and teachers who viewed the programme — along with photo and viedographic evidence of participation — on its University Activity Monitoring Portal by 5 p.m. on Tuesday.

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/do-not-treat-your-war...


This was no where close to how the Xi app is forced on the students. This was a single event where the PM talked about exams and stress which is an issue many students ans parents face, this was not a political event. Whereas ths Xi app is forced on ths students continously, shaming them if they object. And the app is filled with Xi and communist propaganda.


It's a stretch to say that it was not a political event. He makes blatantly political remarks during such interactions, such as:

> "I entered politics rather late. A lot of people are not able to accept it"

The inspirational stories he relates to children are based around how the BJP, his party, bounced back in his home state of Gujarat.

> He recalled how the Jana Sangh, the predecessor of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), lost all the seats in a Gujarat election. "They had 103 candidates. Whoever wanted to fight was given ticket. Out of 103, the security deposit of 99 was forfeited. "Four candidates survived. With their deposit money, they had a party and distributed sweets."

https://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/no...

He also takes digs at opposition leaders by hinting that they are dyslexic (and implying that dyslexia entails mental retardation) when interacting with students who bring up dyslexia with him.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/pms-dyslexia-remar...

On top of this, the events are mandatory to attend. The punishment for not attending mandatory events in Indian schools goes beyond shaming. Students know they will lose every discretionary grade available to teachers if they push back.


Hmm, my daughter is in elementary school and she never had such homework. Also as an employee in the private sector, I myself has no such burden. I think the public servants are mandated to score well in this app, but I also heard that recent updates have removed names from the score list so the bosses cannot criticize people for taking a low score.

I think the article has exaggerated the situation.


Are you perhaps a strong supporter of Xi Jinping? Or are there areas where you are critical of his policies?


You can read the outline version at https://outline.com/X56FTF




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