1. Link for @0xDUDE is: https://twitter.com/0xdude?lang=en
2. Link for a great thread regarding China spying: https://twitter.com/docligot/status/1111293482629398528?lang...
So far the "social credit" on seems to be mostly based on how much you buy and it only seems to give you discounts to massively overpriced products (similar to a credit card reward system).
Chinese people tend to like one app that does everything. Most of the services talked about in the article as separate services that you can open in WeChat but you can also open most of them in AliPay or Taobao or access them directly on their own websites. This is what Facebook tried to do but failed...
What I find fascinating is that a lot of older people that use WeChat in China are illiterate apart from numbers. They do everything by remembering the pictures and other people help them to set up their account. That is part of the reason why they want a single app that does everything. You don't need to read since you can just send messages, look at pictures and iconography.
Also, everyone in China still accepts cash but you generally need correct change.
If you have any questions feel free to ask. I just found out my sesame-credit score is 622 (not that it does anything...)
With the salient difference of judging one’s political views and affiliations. Like if FICO took into account the number of times you praised or criticised the President.
I'm also not suprised. A local TV guy did a travel guide for China, it was beautifull and he had gained access to a more secure facility ( a controversial dam that caused people to lose their house).
No room for open questions ( had to ask it up front on paper, written). But when he asked a follow up question, the guide got really scared. You could just see it happen ( he was not allowed to film anymore after the question)
If you want to cite a source, it's usually helpful to actually name it, instead of just asserting that it exists.
The rest of your comment is not relevant to the question of whether or not Sesame Credit takes political views into account.
They do. But fake currency is very common in China. I was advised not to use cash. But since I'm not from China, I wasn't able to setup wechat pay account which is very common .
Most of the restaurants I had been to had currency checker machines.
I had to use cash instead of WeChat a few times and the vendor also did this as a test.
There's a growing minority of vendors that no longer accept cash (they have signs up saying so), but from what I've seen it's only in areas with youthful populations.
How can illiterate people send messages?
There is also a + for extra features like:
* Sending a photo
* Sending a short video
You don't need to be able to read to use any of them.
also in china older generations migth be literate but not capable of typing in a phone/computer.
What are you talking about??
Alipay and Alibaba are under the same AliGroup umbrella, not its competitor. 30% of Alibaba stake is actually owned by Japanese conglomerate holding company SoftBank
The post says Alibaba owns Alipay. Not WeChat.
For example, this is from article:
>People are regularly arrested for messages they send in supposedly “private” group chats. In 2017, two people were arrested in Nanjing for separate instances of making satirical comments referring the massacre in the city by the Japanese in 1937.5
But if you read the original source:
>“Nanjing is a pit,” Wang wrote. “We should let the Japanese come slaughter again.” Local police were alerted to the incident after screenshots of Wang’s messages were circulated on social media, and they arrested him two days later.
Clearly, a bit of a different story than what's implied in this article. I can easily see someone being questioned by police in almost any country if screenshots leaked where they joked about repeating a violent historical atrocity, like 9/11 for example.
It's not clear to me why folks tend to advance the notion that Chinese citizens are under constant 1984-style 24/7 surveillance by their government. That's not quite how it works over there, at least, if people who live and work there are to be trusted.
There are a number of stories about surveillance over the years.  Here's one about a BBC reporter who was found in 7 minutes using their CC system. The situation with the  Ugyhurs and crack down on Muslims. Also the  Social Credit system which is tied into a number of difference services.
I would classify both of those as satirical comments (albeit offensive ones). I'm not sure how familiar you are with the US, but it would not be considered socially acceptable here for the police to question you about comments like this made in, say, a private Facebook message.
It definitely would not be acceptable for police in the US to arrest someone over this; that would be a very clear 1st Amendment violation.
Maybe there's additional context I'm not understanding?
So if I'm understanding correctly, it's not that the arrests didn't happen, or that they happened for a different reason, it's that the government isn't actively soliciting businesses for those kinds of tips. Their attitude is, "we'll arrest you if we hear about it."
If Facebook leaked a private message of this nature to the police in the US, Facebook (or whomever contacted the police) would be criticized as well. Banned from the platform? Go right ahead. Involve law enforcement? There would be a lot of criticism for that.
Regardless, it still seems to me that the reporting in this article seems accurate:
> People are regularly arrested for messages they send in supposedly “private” group chats. In 2017, two people were arrested in Nanjing for separate instances of making satirical comments referring the massacre in the city by the Japanese in 1937.5
I'm seeing arguments that this is reasonable, I'm not seeing arguments that this didn't happen. The conflict seems to be that different cultures have different attitudes towards inflicting legal repercussions on private hate speech.
Because that gets readers to click the article. They don't care how anything actually works.
Complex and nuanced analysis of sociopolitical issues does not make for sensational copy. When the boogeyman is the right one, people will believe anything said about it and swallow the story whole without question.
No. China is not free. I am sorry you are fed up. But I bet millions of victims of Chinese oppression are in much dire condition and wish they could be fed up and not dead or disappeared. Xi Jinping is a dope. The amount of articulation of control China has over the its citizens is chilling. Defending China, Fuck the Chinese govt.
I can say that and face zero repercussions, publically. You cannot say that in China and expect to be ok. I hope the Chinese people rise up one day and figure out a better form of governance for themselves.
For example, when I lived in China my landlord violated several regulations on minimum unit size and fire safety, forged documents to hide this and probably also didn't pay any taxes on the rent I paid in cash. One day there was a notice by the police posted to the door, announcing that they'd come investigate. Some time later I got a message from my landlord warning me and the other tenants not to open the door. The police never came. I assume he either paid them off with a bribe or they were simply too lazy to follow up on their threat.
If China is a police state, then it's one where the police doesn't take their job very seriously.
A police state does not require the police to be concerned with upholding the law. In fact there is usually a departure from the rule of law in police states.
As the other commenter mentioned, the police in a police state are usually concerned with maintaining order and protecting the power of the state or ruling faction, and policing people's behaviour to this end.
I don't deny that e.g. forming an organization directly challenging the CCP's leadership would get you into deep trouble, but most activity below that threshold appears to go unpoliced. Even the currently ongoing student protest at Beijing Normal University's Zhuhai branch doesn't seem to have met any police resistance so far.
(There doesn't seem to be any English reporting on this, but the videos and images should speak for themselves with the added context that this is a demonstration currently happening in Mainland China to protest plans to shut down the local university and establish a more elite institution on the same campus.)
> I hope the Chinese people rise up one day and figure out a better form of governance for themselves.
Besides the immature, flippant impulse to challenge authority that seems quite prevalent in the West, why should the Chinese feel compelled to pursue the path of destruction you're advocating for? The CCP, for all its imperfections, has lifted 850 million illiterate peasants out of extreme poverty in a mere few decades .
Their upward mobility, health and education outcomes have arguably not been better in over 150 years. It's an economic miracle never before seen in history. The trade-off was made between an authoritarian but stable and prosperous society vs balkanization and endless wars that pre-mature democracies tend to produce. Hopefully you’ll excuse them if they don’t join in your shallow diatribe.
You can insult Xi all day and say "fuck the Chinese govt" all you want but at the end of the day, it's not your opinion that matters. In general, the people of China are very happy with the progress that's being made (particularly true of the rural population who have witnessed in real-time, continuous improvements to their standard of living).
One more thing. It would be convenient if the Chinese government were some monolithic, dark and evil entity that you could shake your pitchfork at, but it’s not . It is an extremely complex, dynamic, and heterogenous entity full of internal power struggles, much like every other non-trivial human organization in history. There is evidence hinting at the existence of reformist and hardline members, factions and sub-factions at every part of the ideological spectrum . The GP’s assertion that “China's system is so complicated and so far from a heavy-handed police state.” is factually correct.
This is one of the most frequent arguments by Chinese excusing the actions of CCP. Keep in mind that this is the party that started the cultural revolution, which resulted in 5-10 million deaths due to famine and state-sanctioned purge, destruction of cultural heritage, and forcible seizure of land (all land in China is owned by the state). Yet to this day the details of this history are rarely discussed in school and subjective to censor.
A wealthy person who has no affiliation with the Chinese government is vulnerable to predatory action by local government  -- a big reason why there are so many wealthy Chinese buying and moving property in foreign countries, and part of why government officials tend to be among the richest in the country.
The massive wealth created as a result of private enterprises that end up in the hands of government officials through various methods, is often siphoned out of the country. Imagine if KMT stayed in power, the cultural revolution didn't happen, and private business owners weren't paranoid of the government meddling -- 850 million illiterate peasants were lifted out of extreme poverty despite CCP.
Since Xi's rise to power, the anti-corruption campaign has served both to root out some corruption, and at the same time removing his opposition in the party, leading to his limitless term as the party leader.
While some speculate Xi may use this as an opportunity to move China toward a more democratic model, there is nothing preventing him and his faction from siphoning more wealth from the country.
> The trade-off was made between an authoritarian but stable and prosperous society vs balkanization and endless wars that pre-mature democracies tend to produce.
Your whole thesis seems to be based on the economic growth of the country justifies the oppression and corruption. But as the economic growth slows down, at what point is it not enough as a justification? With the tight media country, how would the Chinese people EVEN know what the true state of the economy is? And even if they decided they've had enough, with the growing control of information, communication, and movements, what can they even do at that point?
So yeah, fuck CCP
I don't think it excuses the actions of the CCP, it just contextualizes it. Anyway, I agree with most of these points. I'd just like to comment that many members of the politburo responsible for the terrible policies you've mentioned are no longer alive. It may be the same party in name, but as mentioned in the parent post, the CCP is by all measures quite factional in nature. Right now the hardliners are in charge under Xi's leadership (as you've also pointed out), but the younger reformist factions probably do still have some influence in shaping party policy.
The CCP's justification for censoring would probably be that they need to preserve their legitimacy while the country is still in its formative phase. China is often perceived as a superpower (and it likes to promote this view), but the reality is that its nominal per capita GDP is still 1/6th that of the U.S.
> A wealthy person who has no affiliation with the Chinese government is vulnerable to predatory action by local government  -- a big reason why there are so many wealthy Chinese buying and moving property in foreign countries, and part of why government officials tend to be among the richest in the country.
>The massive wealth created as a result of private enterprises that end up in the hands of government officials through various methods, is often siphoned out of the country.
I agree with this point also, and it's a very important point to make. One factor that exacerbates this is the sheer wealth creation that has taken place in China, especially in the last 10 years since the great financial crisis. Due to various central bank policies around the world, global credit has never been cheaper nor more plentiful. I'd argue that a lot of Chinese FDI has been a result of wealth spillover from people who have run out of places to park it.
> Imagine if KMT stayed in power, the cultural revolution didn't happen, and private business owners weren't paranoid of the government meddling -- 850 million illiterate peasants were lifted out of extreme poverty despite CCP.
That could have been one possible future. Another possible future (and more realistic IMO) could have been the disintegration of China as one cohesive nation (basically, another century of humiliation which had only just ended, where China was chopped up and claimed by western powers). The largest driver of CCP policy was probably the collapse of the Soviet Union which was arguably the end result of perestroika and glastnost. CCP members at the time probably saw what happened next (fragmentized nations engaged in endless civil wars) and balked at the thought of reform. Lifting 850 million people out of poverty is no easy feat and is a fact that bears repeating over and over again.
> Since Xi's rise to power, the anti-corruption campaign has served both to root out some corruption, and at the same time removing his opposition in the party, leading to his limitless term as the party leader.
Agreed. I’d say it’s a trade-off of risks. I personally believe that benevolent dictatorships work the best for developing nations. Leaders like Lee Kuan Yew come to mind. Others, like Suharto, were unbelievably corrupt, but are remembered fondly for creating decades of stability and prosperity. You can move fast and implement policies that need to be implemented without being mired in endless deadlock and debate like in parliamentary systems which tend to yo-yo, with one party undoing all the work of the previous. The risk is that the dictatorship turns sour and policy mistakes are made, resulting in power grabs and instability. This is not to say I’m against parliamentary systems - they work very well for highly educated, wealthy and developed nations.
> While some speculate Xi may use this as an opportunity to move China toward a more democratic model, there is nothing preventing him and his faction from siphoning more wealth from the country.
> Your whole thesis seems to be based on the economic growth of the country justifies the oppression and corruption. But as the economic growth slows down, at what point is it not enough as a justification? With the tight media country, how would the Chinese people EVEN know what the true state of the economy is? And even if they decided they've had enough, with the growing control of information, communication, and movements, what can they even do at that point?
I don’t think anything can justify oppression and corruption. In an ideal world, there would be none of that. Unfortunately, we live in a very unideal world full of compromises and decisions between lesser evils. We’ll have to see what happens, but my personal belief is that China will move more and more towards glasnost-like policies as time goes on but at its own pace, not at the pace dictated by western powers. Personal freedoms in China in the present day bear no resemblance to the personal freedoms 30, 20, even 10 years ago. The vast majority of Chinese people are able to travel abroad, wear what they want and work where they want. They are able to enjoy the prosperity of the nation with only one caveat: do not do anything that can lead to instability - hence the rise in technological surveillance. There are many nation-state actors that would greatly prefer if the global world order were not disrupted by the rise of China.
> So yeah, fuck CCP
Surely you mean “fuck the hardline members of the CCP, but hopefully the reformers win out”?
You would expect the censoring to be less instead of more as the country develops. This has been the hope of the rest of the world as well -- that economic growth, higher education level and stability would usher in the transition away from autocracy. However, this doesn't seem to be happening and the tech-enabled information control only serves to worsen -- Chinese citizens' knowledge of personal freedom, checks and balances have been stagnating.
> We’ll have to see what happens, but my personal belief is that China will move more and more towards glasnost-like policies as time goes on but at its own pace, not at the pace dictated by western powers.
This had been the hope of the world, Chinese abroad and much of Hong Kong. But the recent actions of CCP, including the Hong Kong extradition law proposal seem to suggest this doesn't seem likely or the time scale might be slow enough that the rise of China may become a threat to the rest of the World first (lack of the rule of law , and the associated forced intellectual theft and transfer, leveraging economic might to bully its neighbors).
I see the trade-war as the external stimulus that is needed to accelerate China's transition. When the economic growth slows, the party would have to address the social issues. However, years of state-education and nationalistic propaganda is difficult to overcome.
> Surely you mean “fuck the hardline members of the CCP, but hopefully the reformers win out”?
You are right. That is the ideal outcome. Hopefully Xi is more Chiang Kai-Shek than Mao.
Unfortunately, in today's world, fake news is so widespread that it really can lead to the destabilization of nations. Especially with the advent of ubiquitous apps like WeChat, unsubstantiated news generated for the purpose of fomenting outrage can spread unbelievably quickly. In the hands of the poorly educated, things can spiral out of control if you have no means to control it. This has been a growing trend even in highly educated and developed nations (Russia-Trump, Facebook, Brexit, etc). Can you imagine what problems this could cause with a population 5x as large and 1/10 as educated?
WeChat was not even invented 10 years ago and now it is used by almost a billion people daily. As new forms of communication become more widespread, the CCP will develop new ways to control it. Some might characterize this as a worsening of surveillance and state control, but I'm of the opinion that it's a natural evolution in response to evolving methods of communication.
> This had been the hope of the world, Chinese abroad and much of Hong Kong. But the recent actions of CCP, including the Hong Kong extradition law proposal seem to suggest this doesn't seem likely or the time scale might be slow enough that the rise of China may become a threat to the rest of the World first (lack of the rule of law , and the associated forced intellectual theft and transfer, leveraging economic might to bully its neighbors).
> I see the trade-war as the external stimulus that is needed to accelerate China's transition. When the economic growth slows, the party would have to address the social issues. However, years of state-education and nationalistic propaganda is difficult to overcome.
The HK extradition law is a whole other can of worms and would take many posts to dissect. My brief understanding is that the law in itself is not really a threat. The law itself is a pre-cursor to what could be a threat to HK autonomy in the future. Skimming over the legislation, there are many checks and balances in place with the ultimate decision of extradition falling on the hands of an independent judicial review in HK . It's not a broad, sweeping law, but a provision for case-by-case extradition.
As far as transitional time scale goes, it’s a generational change that I think it will be slow but inevitable as more and more Chinese are exposed to democratic, liberal ideology and standards of living improve. American corporations and their lobbyists (who are driving a lot of the trade war rhetoric) think on a very short term, quarter-by-quarter basis. They will not want to wait 5, 10, 20 years for Chinese markets to open up fully to them -if they had their way, they would force China to open up tomorrow, destroying domestic industries that are unable to compete. China would be the world's largest Banana republic.
On the other hand, the CCP is also known for long-term strategic planning (5 year plan, 10 year plan, etc). These two interests are at direct odds with one another. To make matters worse, there are probably elements of the current Politburo who would preserve their iron grip on state owned enterprises forever, if they could. Your point about the trade-war being an external catalyst for reform is a salient one and will likely push the issue to some kind of middle ground.
> You are right. That is the ideal outcome. Hopefully Xi is more Chiang Kai-Shek than Mao.
I hope so too. Thanks for the nuanced discussion :)
Would you please take the spirit of this site more to heart by reviewing the guidelines and using HN as intended?
> The assertion that it's not a free country and horrific the worst way possible when you're a minority is absolutely true.
It’s not absolutely true. I suggest you consult some independent sources for a more nuanced perspective other than that promulgated by mainstream media. There are dozens of ethnic minorities (yes, even Muslim minorities) that are prospering just fine along with the rest of China. There are even remote places where the CCP actively funnels tourists to help them bolster incomes. It’s in their best interest to do so because poverty and unemployment leads to instability. It’s most definitely not in their best interest to “violates people's basic human rights for just simply being a part of a minority”. What possible good would that do?
I find the Chinese government more than okay from a purely utilitarian standpoint. Is it perfect? No, far from it. Has it been a net good for its people? Undeniably.
The fact is, the reality is much more nuanced than that. Painting the picture as black and white and then getting emotional over it helps nobody.
> You can't be pro-Muslims and put them into concentration camps.
> It is that black and white, the things are mutually exclusive.
Yes, you can and no, it isn't. This is essentially the fundamental basis of statecraft - making tradeoffs and weighing the benefits of certain policies over others. Very rarely will you find a problem that has a perfectly packaged solution to it, and this is where historical context and nuance comes into play. Nothing is ever black and white.
Let’s take your example of Muslims and “concentration camps” for example. You and the mainstream media would characterize them as “concentration camps” for its sensational effect (though technically correct, I think we can all agree on its historical connotations - i.e extermination camps). If you were to be charitable, a more accurate description would be to classify them as forced “re-education camps”. We have to keep in mind that there is currently a tidal wave of propaganda from both China and the West that is unfolding right now, triggered by a fundamental shift in geopolitical strategy from the U.S.
Post-1980s, elements of Wahhabi/Salafi Islam were imported into Xinjiang from Saudi Arabia/Turkey and subsequently to mostly Uyghur East Turkistan separatists. This radical version of Islam supplanted the less extreme forms of Islam practiced by ethnic Uyghurs at the time (i.e - Shafi-I, Sufi Islam) . Not only did this erode and destroy traditional Uyghur cultural and folkloric practices, but this led to many violent terrorist incidents inside of Xinjiang and elsewhere in China . Regressive constructs of Wahhabism/Salafism such as burkas, suppression of women’s rights, suppression of secular education and jihadist proselytization  were perceived as a threat to stability of the region.
The re-education and vocational camps, however ill conceived, were designed to directly address this issue. They were designed to stem the rising tide of unemployed, unskilled and increasingly radicalized Muslim ethnic minorities in the region and to revert it back to its pre-Wahhabi influenced state. They did not just pop up out of nowhere without any historical context like the mainstream media would have you believe.
If the CCP were truly anti-Muslim, do you think they would allow mosques to exist and Muslims to worship freely in them? Don't you think they would have bulldozed every single one of the 39,000 mosques by now?
To reiterate: forced re-education camps are far from a perfect solution (if a perfect solution even exists), but given the authoritarian nature of the CCP, they could have done far, far worse.
I will be more than happy to address each offence point by point.
Also, the uncritical assumption that China should be administering Kashgar! Just like the question of the USA administering little South American/Middle Eastern countries and Russia administering Ukraine.
On the other hand, a large-scale government action completed in short time usually indicates that things haven't been thought through all that well. If all they're doing is putting a bunch of Muslims into an adversarial situation with probably racist guards, I'd expect any actual terrorists among the inmates to have no difficulty finding recruits.
I don't think I've pushed the notion that re-education camps are a social good nor innocuous. They are objectively pretty bad. Forcing anyone to do anything against their will is pretty horrible.
All I'm saying is that amongst the terrible things that an authoritarian government is capable of, forcing people to learn vocational skills and sit and listen to corny CCP propaganda for hours every day is not the worse thing that could have happened. The CCP could have easily used the violence in the region to justify much worse things.
That being said, I won’t justify the severe abuses (i.e - torture) that may be taking place there, abuses which naturally arise when one group of humans wield asymmetric power over another. If indeed there are such cases, I truly believe they are by far the minority. Any such widespread severe abuse would trigger the CCP’s red flag of destabilization. It would jeopardize China’s relationship with the world (condemnation, sanctions - which seems to be happening anyway), with its allies like Pakistan and others in the Islamic world, and with its own populace.
As far as I know, the Uyghurs are still allowed to engage in traditional customs like any other Muslim ethnic minorities, just not the extreme Wahhabi/Salafi customs that were were never native to them in the first place.
> Also, the uncritical assumption that China should be administering Kashgar! Just like the question of the USA administering little South American/Middle Eastern countries and Russia administering Ukraine.
Sorry I did not address the administering of Kashgar. It’s a legitimate question and one point of contention amongst many. There is a long and complicated history there with evidence of a vassal relationship going back to the Tang dynasty. I don’t have enough information to form an opinion on China’s claim to the city. If you can point me to some historical references, that would be great.
I don't think Taiwan agrees with you
In the USA, i can say whatever I damn please. In China, I can not talk about certain topics. Whether or not both CCP and FBI bug my phone, I do not know. However, China is super oppressive when it comes to freedom.
While I think generally you're right, I wouldn't tell a joke that involves a bomb in certain places as well. (Not from the US, but given that this holds for the Netherlands, I expect that that's true for the US as well.)
Yes, WeChat is largely contained to China, but TikTok/ByteDance is global and a top 10 app in the U.S. It would be naive to think that there isn't a backdoor to that app. And it's video.
There's also precedence for this e.g. the U.S. forcing Grindr's Chinese owner to sell.
Once it becomes passe, or once the app has a major security breach, that's when the Chinese origins of the app will be front and center in every news pub.
It’s reasonable to worry about whatever data you give tiktok, but you should probably worry a lot more about Facebook or google which collects far more private data.
Nobody mandated the author to order delivery, follow social media, buy movie tickets, do online shopping, pay rent, use bikeshare, call cabs, etc, etc, etc. through WeChat. They are, for the most part, services owned by companies other than Tencent. WeChat just compiles a giant menu for users to link their accounts from these services into WeChat. These gateways exist because consumers find it more convenient than quitting WeChat and opening another app/website.
It's perfectly healthy to be concerned about the impact of centralized tech giants on our daily lives but so far all I'm seeing is fearmongering about this ever-more-elusive "dystopia" which coincidentally seems to only exist in a place that's easy for the English-speaking world to hate on.
What you're proposing is an interesting philosophical argument, but not a particularly useful way to think when building a society. We're trying to limit Hobson's Choices, even if we can't completely eliminate them all the time.
Enough with the irresponsible moral equivalence arguments.
There are glaringly material differences between 'Google software scanning your mails to target ads' and 'the police having $2/hour folks reading private chats to arrest you for totally arbitrary reasons'.
But this is the states terrible job at trying to hamper hate speech, mostly with fines. The world is not turning upside down.
If people dissapear off the streets because they say 'we deserve democracy' then we have a problem.
If someone leaks you joking about repeating a historical terrorist attack the chances that the police at least pay you a visit is very high, in the United States and other Western countries.
There's actually a whole array of news articles you can find on your search engine of choice about arrests after people made social media posts about threatening politicians. Which I might add, joke or not is very reasonable.
But in this case, joking about a historical event, inviting a foreign country to invade is way beyond reality, obviously.
So, if you invited the 'Germans to invade America' again, nobody will come knocking except the Twitter Nazis. (Pun intended).
"Despite WeChat’s somewhat more private design, Amnesty International, in a 2016 report on user privacy, gave WeChat zero out of a 100 for its lack of freedom of speech protection and lack of end-to-end encryption. By comparison, Facebook scored 73. People are regularly arrested for messages they send in supposedly “private” group chats. In 2017, two people were arrested in Nanjing for separate instances of making satirical comments referring the massacre in the city by the Japanese in 1937.5 One person, seeking a job in the city and down on his luck, wrote in a group for job-seekers that “Nanjing is a pit. We should let the Japanese come slaughter again.” He was detained two days later. A similar case that same year saw a 31-year-old man jailed for joking about joining the Islamic State in a group-chat. He was arrested under China’s anti-terrorism laws and given a 9-month prison sentence."
depends on whether the action was taken by wechat or someone reported the user from the group, because if that's the case all the encryption in the world isn't going to help you. (and it's not particularly unlikely depending on the size)
Also as the other user suggested, you probably shouldn't advocate joining isis on a platform in a country where said action is illegal, wechat like any other company anywhere has the duty to enforce the law.
People are being persecuted by law enforcement because it is the very entity that mandated WeChat to do this in the first place. I don't see how placing the whole blame on WeChat itself is rational at all.
Aye, but if you get sent to prison for merely talking about it - much less joking - the ACLU and Twitter would have a field day.
> Expressing sentiments akin to Holocaust denial or any other mass tragedy also more than likely invites action from the platform you are on depending on their policy.
EDIT: That's a platform-specific problem - one that I happen to disagree with vehemently. If all speech isn't free, then no speech is.
> I don't see how placing the whole blame on WeChat itself is rational at all.
I'm not. I'm placing the blame on the PRC, of which, unfortunately, major Chinese corporations seem to be an operating arm of.
It works great for Chinese people and foreign residents of the PRC who have a bank account. However, my experience as a tourist was that it was impossible to link my US credit card using the PRC version of the app downloaded while in China.
I'll try it tomorrow and see if it works.
Wechat pay is an option though; you just need to find a Chinese national that will send your account money.
I wonder if WeChat users already developed something similar.
I think the govt. is happy with this change, because it dramatically slows down communication rates if people have to have built-in encryption/decryption parsing in their speech.
Also, if you accidentally inform a government agent of the code, so to say, you disappear and the in-group has to change their coding language again.
I've come to believe that most governments are inept when it comes to the management, security and general quality of their software.
With the government holding so much critical information, it seems a very obvious and valuable target for hackers.
They are very well aware of it, so they do outsourcing to pro-CCP companies, e.g. Hikvision, Face++.
The thing is, this is not some hypothetically argument, but governments ARE corrupt and abuse their powers.
Even in our awesome democratic western systems. In china much more.
And that the general chinese population is used to it and therefore does not mind so much, is just that they are used to it.
It doesn't seem that different to the US government with AT&T.
And while AT&T doesn’t seem to have done this, other companies such as Apple have enacted privacy measures which directly contravene the stated wishes of the government - but which are legal.
In China, I believe the way it works is, whatever the government wants becomes legal. The US is far from perfect but the rule of law exists here to some degree.
In China, they want this information public because they want people to know that they know and self regulate - Panopticon.
The cynic in me looks at the US as a country controlled by companies while China is a country that controls companies. I don't know if it makes that much of a difference any more now that companies are almost the same size as countries.
Either way, the current reality of some lucky individuals having all the access to everyone’s information, whether it’s Chinese government or companies or US government or companies is the worst situation to be in if you have little power, i.e. 99.9999999% of people who aren’t billionaires/nation state level diplomats.
It's not just "government can be corrupt and abuse its powers", it's also "government will be inept and leak your data".
And since you can't unreveal data, "government" doesn't just mean "current government", it means "current and any possible future government".
And before you say not all communist are alike and you can't generalize… yeah no, they are quite alike and you can generalize. Anyone who lived in any of them knows exactly what guanxi and other social concepts mean, the cultures are remarkably cookie-cutter.
Why are "victims of communism" allowed to generalize from their experience, while "victims of capitalism"
And before the nitpicking starts, I'm well aware that monied interests can influence democratic politics. That does not make an economic system a political system. It would be like calling democracy an economic system.
There's currently one remaining loop hole I know about which is to pay someone to send money via a red envelope / hóngbāo but it's getting increasingly harder. It's already asking you for a passport and right now it still works even if you cancel that but probably not for much longer. You can do that either if you know someone, ask someone in a store if they do it from their personal account or through some websites that take PayPal but with a hefty commission usually.
Has it ever been different? Afaik, it's as limited as it always was; they just added identity verification.
A digitized version of Nazi Germany with mass censorship capabilities really is terrifying.
Perhaps you could even be kicked off WeChat for having a social rating that was too low.
now I can't recall if that was a stand alone app or within the wechat ecosystem.
Considering the fact that the private companies pitching social credit to the government are merchants (Tecent & Aligroup) that is the only data they have access to.
Edit: Realized after you asked about credit score. A credit score is quite different than what China's rating system is all about from my understanding. Being dependable on repaying money or paying money you've promised to pay is a very specific rating that aligns with a person's accountability and/or ability to predict and manage their situation.
Also visa renewals? What is that in reference to?
I was able to install and use it just fine. The problem was that it is impossible to link a non-PRC payment method to it. The same is true for WeChat Pay or Alipay—you've got to use a Chinese bank account or card as a source. I was not able to find a way around this despite over an hour of experimenting with the apps.
In contrast, it was easy to get taxis in Wenzhou. The drivers all initially asked for electronic payment, though, so it's probably only a matter of regulation that is preventing them from going cashless.
But then again I had a different problem because the Didi drivers will call up to confirm the booking and pickup location and I had to get help of my friends/colleagues to help me communicate with the driver.
A Chinese person can show you the buttons to press then you can pay with cash.
I ended up taking a BRT line to get back to my hotel and it was great. All of my experiences with transit in Beijing were excellent. I just wish taxis or car services were an option for tourists.
> despite over an hour of experimenting with the apps.
You can link some HK and South African credit cards
My understanding from folks who do business in China is that the laws on the books are one thing.... what you can count on legally is often entirety different.
Enforcement of basically all laws is done using some rotation system. This month it will be X, next month it will be Y. One of the interesting things is that they don't keep it a secret. It isn't published in newspapers but every Chinese person seems to know what the police are targeting now and next month. It gives everyone time to clean up their act before they get in trouble. The enforcement can never be 100%
If people complain enough then it will be resolved quickly. The shops around tourist areas should be fixed quickly because it looks bad.
It's only going to get worse.
nobody complained when US (and everyone else later on) required online forms for visa requests. full of google Analytics tags and all.
I wonder what VPN people use in China to access Google. When I was there last month, I couldn't find a single one that worked for more than a few days.
Most of Tech Organizations have deal with Govt to allow them to access google & gmail.
Best bet is to get International data roaming then use your phone to check email etc. If you are transiting via Singapore would recommend you to get a Singapore sim which supports international data roaming and using it in China.
Hate to say it, but this is the same with Facebook. The only difference is the government aspect. I think all social products ultimately aim for this. I can definitely see Facebook heading this direction very soon.
I was under the impression that Face ID does not leak such information to whatever app is using it?
WeChat has its own face recognition system.
> I have my WeChat linked with the facial recognition scanner on my iPhone
was not aware that WeChat has its own system. They don't get to use the "special" FaceID sensors/scanners though right? Just the camera?
This is not that big a deal in China considering that people have photo ID card, which means that the government already had everyone's biometric data.
> (Tencent declined to comment for this article)
More likely: (I didn't dare to request comment from Tencent or my social credit score would have plummeted).
Is there FB analytics built into Netflix? Then they could even say what we watched on Netflix that night.
A machine learning bot that can write just the right thing to a potential date is probably doable, albeit creepy. It's even easier if the bot can see their entire social media and IM history...
So say US has interest on country X, can you 100% guarantee that none of the following data could be used to target some individuals of said country:
- Facebook social graph
- WhatsApp conversations
- Skype voice and video chats
- Google location history
- visa credit card transactions
IMHO it's just a matter of how big is the interest.
Maybe it wouldn't happen to use this data for personal reasons but it would be very strange to imagine an army leader citing foreigners personal data protection when the country is at war.
It shocked me that all of my posts were blocked immediately, people can see my old posts but not those new posts with the "sensitive" pictures.
I downloaded those pictures from bloomberg, so I am sure the wechat / tencent is running some web crawler and ML to identify the news picture from the online sources and block them automatically.
Still there is some way to get around, by assembling a group of pictures together and adding some noise (adding words, etc).
What's more, the regime is not only monitoring wechat or weibo, it's monitoring non-domestic social medias like twitter as well, for example here's a pictures showing a huge screen, where a lot of tweets are being process my some NLP algorithm, and outputs a result showing whether the tweet is positive, neutral or negative towards the regime .
This is how a totalitarianism would apply technology, it uses everything it could to control the people in order to survive.
China is now going full throttle to become a nazi + commie country, it's THE CANCER for everyone else who loves freedom and democracy.
There will be only two possibilities in the 21st century, either the Communist China crashed like USSR, or a war will happen between the China and the west. Hong Kong is literally the frontline of the battlefield.
Disclaimer: I am from china, living in the US now.
The iPhone does, WeChat doesn't.
There was a great article in Australia about this a few years back: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-16/metadata-retention-pr...
My thinking has been that while apps should be sandboxed given China, its (apparent) goals and (apparent from media) past behavior I'm thinking they would invest as much manpower as it takes to figure out how to break iOS/Android sandboxes and turn the phone into a full time listening/tracking device.
I'd love to hear from someone who knows more about mobile OS security regarding this. Is the above a likely or possible scenario or am I being too paranoid?
Is it too much effort to just make your own coffee in your own apartment? Does that now also have to be delivered to you? The amount of waste involved in this just boggles my mind.
Not from China but have been different phases of life where have either preferred to have early morning coffe delivered/fetched/made myself in my apartment.
Different priorities would drove the choices for me.
Pricing differences between walking-fetching and having it delivered it on a schedule to my place were not much.
Making it often required me to maintain a lot of things , which i preferred depending on place, nature of work besides other priorities.
Why not just wash down a caffeine pill with warm glass of water for the kick and move when time pressed?
As a side note, I've recently started ordering bags of beans online from various roasters I've had around the country. If anyone has recommendations that sell their beans online, I'd love to expand my palette.
Aeropress is highly conducive to repeatability and experimentation, due to its tight control of the immersion time interval. I was trying to be careful with pour-over, and still found that I couldn't quite get it down. Now, I can even adjust for the age of the beans I have on hand. (You can go hotter and briefer, to get the caffeine and good stuff, but absorb extracting unpleasant stuff.) Do read and follow the instructions to start.
One big disadvantage is that the filters absorb the oils, but all brewing methods that use filters have this. Also, it uses a lot of grounds to produce a little bit of extract. (Which I dilute and drink as Americano.)
That said, delivery seems a little strange to me. You don't get the little coffee break to walk to somewhere or have some involvement in making it, which seems like a downside. It also seems like a lot of overhead to obtain coffee.
It's when you get a grande vanilla latte from Starbucks that you load up on milk, sugar, and caffeine.
Why do you feel that way? I've never been a big coffee drinker (for this reason specifically), but everything I've heard about caffeine withdrawals for people who have been daily drinkers for a while is that they are awful - headaches, irritability, extreme fatigue, etc...
This is coming from a pot/day drinker who's 'quit' multiple times. In the end it's not worth it, because coffee also comes with the pleasant social contract with other coffee drinkers as well as a appetite suppressing effect.
That's enough caffeine to give you a heart attack 100 times over, it would last you forever.
It didn't affect the coffee industry because drinking coffee is an enjoyable process, not a one dimensional addiction around caffeine
Can confirm. Bought two in 2013, still have ~450 grams in the first bag I opened. Well worth the ~$50 (including a jeweler's scale) for a lifetime supply of preworkout supplements.
The FDA banned bulk caffeine sales in 2015 or 2018 too. This is probably a good idea, most folks have no idea how much caffeine is in a cup of coffee, much less how to measure that dose in powdered form.
From 'The Little Prince' referring to the merchant who sold pills to quench thirst.
It's the reason Starbucks exists. People are on the go, and they don't want to make their own coffee.
This is literally the same as going to the corner coffee shop to buy a Frappuccino.
If you can count on that arrival time (within minutes), you can just time it so it coincides with you getting out the door. No need to worry about forgetting the pot on the stove, or noisy grinders, etc. It's more likely you'll make a mistake in the morning especially if you're not a morning person and you're still half asleep and in a hurry.
There's something for everyone.
5 min before I go to bed, all I have to do is prepare the coffee and pour water, then press the button to activate at the preferred time interval. At 7:15 am the machine will start and there we go, coffee ready. The machine also turns itself off within 45 min, so you never risk leaving anything running.
Now I'm feeling nostalgic, I was only there for a few weeks, but with the parks, teahouses, and food, it was my favorite city in China.
Don't even need extra equipment. Trader Joe's has a nice cold-brew. Pour a finger width into a cup, add some almond/coconut milk, then put in the microwave for ~60 seconds. Hot vitamin-c in under two minutes. No way I could wait almost thirty.
1 minute: hang grind fresh beans
1 minute: take out moka pot, fill with water, put coffee in, put on stove
3-6 minutes depending on ambient temp: moka boils
1 minute: pour cup, wash out moka pot
Moka is such a pain. I drip now for time efficiency.
The Baratza Sette 270 grinds with fantastic precision compared to other grinders on the market (even the Vario), and goes through 19g of beans in about 5 seconds.