China’s Heavy 5G Hand in the Classroom: Combining its Social Credit Score with the latest IT by 2020


Journal of Political Risk, Vol. 7, No. 2, February 2019

By Victor Mair, Ph.D.

Students at a training center prepare to take part in the art test of a College Entrance Examination. They placed their mobilephones on a platform in advance of a mock exam on January 1, 2016 in Xi’an, Shaanxi Province of China. The mobilephone has become seen as a ‘must have’, an item of necessity among the Chinese people and China as the world’s largest country is now recognised to have the most mobilephone users. Credit: VCG via Getty Images

I recently had a good, long talk with a young American who is teaching at a major Chinese university on behalf of a top American university.

He kept saying that life in China now is becoming more and more “intense” (he repeated that word many times).  The politicization of life is felt in countless ways.

He said that the Communist Party Secretary of his school marched into his classroom one day without announcing it ahead of time and without even saying anything to him when she barged in.  She started inspecting everything he’d written on the blackboards and that the students had written in their notebooks.  She had her camera out and was taking pictures the whole while.

But the most disturbing thing he told me is that everybody in China is aware of and concerned about the triple concatenation of 5G, IT, and Social Credit rankings, which the CCP government wants to put in place by 2020.

The 5G system, built mostly with technology stolen from America, is so much faster than 4G that it will permit almost real time feedback of monitoring devices,

The data will be fed into and analyzed by IT, also mostly stolen from America.

The results of all this constant monitoring of the populace will be massive control and forestalling of social disturbances.

Another thing the young teacher mentioned was that Americans and Canadians in China are keenly aware of the possibility they might be picked off and detained because of the Meng Wanzhou extradition affair.  It’s ironic that one of the main reasons for Meng Wanzhou’s extradition is the complicity of her firm, Huawei, in the theft and misapplication of American information and telecommunication technology.

Victor Mair is Professor, Chinese Language and Literature, at the University of Pennsylvania. JPR Status: Report. The following is a response from an international professor in China.

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I would like to thank you for your recent article “China’s Heavy 5G Hand 
in the Classroom: Combining its Social Credit Score with the latest IT 
by 2020.” I am a Sinologist from [], most recently employed as 
[], where we have been experiencing a lot of what you mention in your article.

We have had up to 40 “surprise” inspections per week, where random 
people enter our classes to check what we are teaching. Most 
disturbingly, there are “mole” students assigned to some classes to 
record teachers and plant loaded questions to test “loyalties” (as some 
local professors put it). Most Chinese professors, who seem to have a 
better understanding of the situation, refuse to appear in students’ 
pictures during cultural events, fearing that it can be used against 
them in the future. All these issues have made widespread face 
recognition across the campus a rather unimportant issue.

Although it is sad to see China going backwards down this well-known 
hill -or cliff-, I am glad to see that there are still people like you 
who have the courage to speak out.

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