China expert Gordon G. Chang, a Gatestone Institute distinguished senior fellow, reports that there now are 60 surveillance cameras watching 30 tables, and their occupants, at the Haidilao Hot Pot restaurant in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
They’re significant because the images they capture are fed directly to China, as part of the more than 600 million cameras that nation’s Communist regime has installed and operates to monitor the behavior of … everyone.
“Beijing will, at some point, be able to assign a social credit score to just about everyone on the plant,” Chang explains. “Yes, it is true that its officials have yet to overcome the obstacles – mainly bureaucratic – in knitting together a China-wide social credit system for individuals, but it is just a matter of time before they succeed.”
Much of the West hasn’t paid a lot of attention yet to China’s social credit scores.
They began in 2014 when China’s State Council set guidelines for the system, which was to be operational by 2020 – it’s now expected to be fully implemented by 2025.
There are feeds from some 626 million surveillance cameras and smartphone scanners and other sources that eventually will “assign to every person in China a constantly updated score based on observed behaviors. For example, criticizing Chinese ruler Xi Jinping in a social media posting would result in the lowering of an individual’s score,” Chang reported.
“There are consequences for low-scored individuals. As officials say, the purpose of the system is to ‘allow the trustworthy to roam everywhere under heaven while making it hard for the discredited to take a single step.’ People with low scores have been denied social services, mortgages, and even the right to board trains and planes. There are also ‘interconnecting repercussions for family, friends, associates, and businesses both in and outside China,’ [Ina] Mitchell, an investigative journalist and co-author with [Scott] McGregor of the upcoming The Mosaic Effect, tells Gatestone.”
And now those monitors are being activated outside China.
He explained the restaurant manager, Ryan Pan, said the cameras are there to “people track” for China’s “social credit system.”
The facility is part of a chain of nearly 1,000 such restaurants worldwide.
“Why did Beijing select Ryan Pan’s restaurant for such intensive collection of information? For starters, it is in British Columbia’s most important city for China. ‘Vancouver,’ says Mitchell, ‘is a gateway for the Chinese Communist Party into North America where they engage in pervasive foreign interference activity, mobilizing overseas United Front units to strategically lure political and business leaders using financial inducements and other incentives to promote the Party’s agenda,’” Chang wrote.
Further, that restaurant is near the facility serving a Huawei Technologies executive.
The move is a clear indication China wants “to keep tabs on the rest of the world.”
Previously, he said, between 2012 and 2017 that nation downloaded – secretly – data from the computers at the Beijing-donated and Chinese-built headquarters of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia through … Huawei servers.
And Beijing’s desire for data prompted it to give tens of billions of dollar to Huawei so that company, the world’s largest maker of telecom networking gear, is integral to 5G networks.
That fifth generation of wireless communications “makes possible the Internet of Things, which will connect virtually all the world’s devices, from cars to toasters to pacemakers,” he said.
So far, Canada has not responded to the active camera monitoring, even though the province’s Personal Information Protection Act does not allow the operation, he said.
“So far, the Haidilao Hot Pot restaurant — and China — have gotten off scot-free,” he said.
“China’s Communist Party wants to know everything that happens everywhere. So far, the Western democracies do not seem to be putting up much of a fight,” he said.
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