Perhaps Western governments look at Chinese centralisation with envy and have enjoyed some of the Chinese-style 'centralising' effects that have emerged after all governments declared extra-constitutional 'states of emergency' in early 2020.
Maybe Western governments also look longingly at the disciplined, responsible, non-dissenting Chinese citizens and wish that western populations were that easy to marshal and control? Less of the western Julian Assange-type disruptive characters and more of the servile Mr and Mrs Chinese Citizen?
Western governments did belatedly implement the Chinese model in March 2020, within days of Dr Bruce Aylward, head of the WHO International Mission, touching back down from Beijing.
Aylward: “In the face of a previously unknown disease, China has taken one of the most ancient approaches for infectious disease control and rolled out probably the most ambitious, and I would say, agile and aggressive disease containment effort in history. China took old-fashioned measures like the national approach to hand-washing, the mask-wearing, the social distancing, the universal temperature monitoring. But then very quickly, as it started to evolve, the response started to change . . . So they refined the strategy as they moved forward, and this is an important aspect as we look to how we might use this going forward...” He said further, “What struck me most was that every Chinese had a strong sense of responsibility and dedication to contribute to the fight against the epidemic.”
In December 2020, Imperial College's Neil Ferguson admitted he was inspired and guided by the unprecedented actions of the Chinese Communist Party almost militaristic ‘lockdown’ method of social control. He expressed how western leaders' sense of what was possible - in terms of controlling freedom-loving and unruly individual westerners - changed in early 2020.
“I think people’s sense of what is possible in terms of control
changed quite dramatically between January and March,” he said.
According to Ferguson, both he and and the UK government’s SAGE science committee regarded China experimental totalitarian lockdown policy as “innovative intervention
”: “It’s a communist one party state, we said. We couldn’t get away with it in Europe, we thought ... and then Italy did it. And we realised we could.”
“If China had not done it,” he said, “the year would have been very different.”
Will the west continue looking to China for inspiration?
Beijing has unveiled what was claimed to be the world's first Covid vaccine passport in March.
QR code health certificates on an app show a user's vaccination status and recent test results. Will 'covid passport/certificates' inevitably orph and segue into identity documents and 'green passes', in the name of the climate change news that will swamp us once Covid is done? Will there be an inevitable merging, down the line, of vaccine records with biometric digital identity, climate credits, and economic and social activity?
Chinese Communist Party petitioned the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) on Tuesday 8 March to let China build and run a global database for “vaccine passports”.
The “vaccine passport” — A digital certification that confirms a person has received a coronavirus vaccination — joins China’s larger “social credit system,” which judges every citizen and awards them numerical “scores” based on how much the Party approves of their behavior. The behavior judged can vary from littering and volunteering, which result in respectively lower or higher social credit scores, to the display of public opinions either in favor or against the Communist Party.
China’s social credit system has prevented millions of citizens from traveling, through banning them from purchasing airplane, train, or public transportation tickets. China is similarly limiting citizens who do not receive a vaccine against the Chinese coronavirus, from widespread travel.
China’s Global Times reported the Communist Party could build an international “vaccine passport” surveillance system in a week through its large technology companies.
“Chinese experts noted on Tuesday that China can help by sharing its experience with and provide technical support to the WHO to organize the issue,” the Times reported, “as China is the most experienced country in using a health code system in the world while the WHO is the most proper organizer for the matter to ensure independence, fairness and data security.”
The experts cited in the article argued that, since China has been conducting mass surveillance of its citizens for years, expanding that system to the rest of the world would not present a major technological challenge.
“In terms of technology, I believe that Chinese companies can build an international platform in just one week,” the head of a Chinese organization identified as the “Information Consumption Alliance,” claimed.
“The WHO can draft the rules, procedures and data format. China is very willing to provide support in sharing experience and techniques in setting up such a platform as the country has rich experience in this.”
China’s “vaccine passport” program launched this week operates through WeChat, a Chinese government-controlled social medium that the regime heavily censors and uses to monitor its citizens.
Individuals vaccinated will have QR codes available on WeChat that allow other nations to confirm their vaccination status.
Xi Jinping has attempted to sell the QR code system publicly since at least November. That month, Xi attended the virtual annual gathering of G20 nations, urging fellow countries to buy into China’s app program.
“We hope more countries will join this mechanism. We need to further standardize policies and establish fast tracks to facilitate the orderly flow of people,” Xi told fellow world leaders.
China already heavily restricts travel through the “social credit” system. The state brands individuals with low social credit “untrustworthy” and bans them from buying tickets to travel, even within the country, if their score is too low. As of March 2019, Chinese state media boasted that over 13 million people no longer had the right to travel within China thanks to that system.
“As of March, 13.49 million individuals have been classified as untrustworthy and rejected access to 20.47 million plane tickets and 5.71 million high-speed train tickets for being dishonest,” the Global Times reported in May of that year, without elaborating on the offending “dishonesty.”
Human rights activists around the world have warned that China uses the social credit system to limit the rights of political dissidents, religious groups, and others considered a threat to communism, rather than just individuals with records of crime.
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Inteeresting article at Unlimited Hangout: Silicon Valley and WEF-backed foundation announce global initiative for vaccine records https://unlimitedhangout.com/2021/01/investigative-reports/silicon-valley-and-wef-backed-foundation-announce-global-initiative-for-covid-19-vaccine-records/
Overlap between digital vaccination records, promoted via initiatives such as CommonPass and VCI, and the push for a new global digital-identity system is no coincidence.
Indeed, the developer of VCI’s SMART Health Cards framework at Microsoft Health, Josh C. Mandel, noted in his overview presentation on that framework that digital identity is integral to the digital vaccination-record effort.
SMART Health Cards, as of now, are expected to include a person’s complete name, gender, birth date, mobile phone number, and email address in addition to vaccination information, though it is possible and likely that more personal information will be required as the initiative advances, given that VCI states that these identifiers are merely a starting point.
While advertised as digital vaccination records, SMART Health Cards are clearly intended to be used for much more. For instance, public information on the framework notes that SMART Health Cards are “building blocks that can be used across health care,” including managing a complete immunization record that goes far beyond COVID-19 vaccines, sharing data with public-health agencies, and communication with health-care providers.
Vaccine Credential Initiative partners, vaccinationcredential.org
Yet, this framework will not be limited to health-care information, as Mandel has said. In his presentation, he notes the application of SMART Health Cards could soon be used as IDs for commercial activity, such as renting a car.
The VCI framework’s use of the term “digital wallet” to refer to its digital vaccination record is also suggestive of future connectivity to economic activity. Efforts to link digital identity, not just to economic activity but also to health data, have recently escalated, for example with the piloting of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance (aka GAVI)–Mastercard–Trust Stamp partnership in Africa.
That program, first launched in 2018, links Trust Stamp’s digital-identity platform with the GAVI-Mastercard Wellness Pass, a digital vaccination record, and Mastercard’s click-to-pay system run on AI technology called NuData. Mastercard and GAVI are both partnered with the ID2020 Alliance, which includes VCI member Microsoft.../ continues