China’s Tech Totalitarianism

The media tell us China “beat coronavirus.”

I don’t believe it. The Chinese government lies. AEI’s Derek Scissors argues that they’ve underreported the number of COVID-19 cases by millions.

Still, it’s possible that China has the virus under control.

But at what cost?

Most of us in America now practice “social distancing.” I’ve barely left my house in a month. I do that voluntarily.

Forty-two states do have some sort of shelter-in-place orders, but most of American’s social distancing is voluntary.

Not so in China. China’s dictators are quick to take extreme measures against whatever they see as a problem. They locked down Wuhan — closed roads to the city, stopped public transit and banned private cars. Chinese police have even welded people into their homes to keep them inside. They’ve tied people to posts for not wearing face masks.

China spies on every citizen, using more than 200 million cameras and social media tracking. Electronic eavesdropping lets them analyze every person’s political leanings and social interactions. They use that to give everyone a trust score.

Your “trust” score drops if you criticize the government — or the trust score system. You lose points if you do things like play “too many” video games, watch porn or have friends with low scores.

Then the government punishes you by doing things like slowing your internet speed, keeping your kids out of good schools or stopping you from getting good jobs.

Now, some Americans say our government should be more like China’s.

“Still no nationwide stay-at-home order!” complains MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow (even though that would be unconstitutional — the 10th Amendment leaves such things to states).

Frightened people push bad law.

“You’re walking toward the communists voluntarily! That scares me,” said Li Schoolland, an immigrant from China I interviewed before the pandemic.

“After I came to the United States I thought, no more politics. I’m in the land of the free!” she recounts. But after she saw some Americans embracing authoritarian ideas, she thought, “No, I have to tell the American people, ‘Don’t let this happen.'”

Schoolland survived China’s Great Leap Forward, Great Famine and Cultural Revolution. Her parents were doctors, “intellectuals,” which meant they, and she, were sent to horrible work camps where they received communist “re-education.”

I thought this repressive era of communism was over. Starting in the late 1970s, China’s leaders modernized their economy and became a major trading partner with the United States.

But no, “The repression is not over,” says Schoolland. China’s spying on people to create “social trust” scores is an example of it.

“The control of people’s mind, people’s mouth, people’s pen, never stopped.”

That’s something to think about now in America, when so many politicians are eager to do more.

Florida set up checkpoints on highways and planes, requiring people who enter from coronavirus hot spots, like New York and Louisiana, to self-quarantine for 14 days. Travelers must give officials contact information so officials can check up on them.

In Rhode Island, police went door to door, checking on people with New York license plates.

Colorado police handcuffed a man for playing softball with his daughter in a park. Father and daughter were more than 6 feet apart, but the officers clustered together to make their arrest.

California police ordered a group of young men to sit on the ground while they photographed them and fined them $1,000 each because they bought beer at 7-Eleven that was an hour away from their homes.

Of course, in a pandemic, some extreme measures are needed.

But repressive government controls like China’s should not be our role model. The virus began in China and spread farther because their autocrats suppressed information, denied the virus could spread between people, and punished scientists who told the truth. Even people who post opinions about the virus may be locked up in China.

I’m glad I live in America, where I’m free to say anything I want about the virus — or my government.

12 thoughts on “China’s Tech Totalitarianism

  1. America has been heading down that path for along time and people who are pushing this way of life, don’t realize it’s going to come back and bite them in the “behind”‘

  2. Why do we always have people who want to control other people?
    Everyone says they believe in freedom, but then they vote against it again and again… and again.

  3. Thank you for reporting! I’d like to see more investigative journalism and criminal investigation of this virus that was spawned in China. If there were a nuclear spill into a river that contaminated citizens, we’d expect an investigation of the nuclear power plant downstream. Why aren’t we investigating the Wuhan lab just 20 miles from the wet market that had patient zero? Why isn’t the media in general up in arms over the Communist Chinese Government like they are Trump and others? This is leading to major death and economic destruction. And I hear crickets in the mainstream media when it comes to questioning China.

    1. The media is in step with the democratic party lock stock and barrel . they will say and report only thing that will hurt trump not help him. The very things they blame him for the democrats and news media did before him. They send reporters to harrass him at his daily updates yet wont cover it live. Theyre there for the sound bites to blast him with on theyre nightly news and cable channels. I say Trump should stop letting them be there if they wont show it live . or let them come but not.let.them answer questions. The Democrats had never had respect for this president and thats their right i guess but they should at least respect the office he holds. An officer once told me you respect the rank not.the man. Same is true for the presidency. You may not like the man but should respect the office at all times

  4. Our News Media gives the impression that they would gleefully and enthusiastically cover the fall of the American Republic as a great News story. Wouldn’t they be surprised when they were the first ones arrested after that fall.

  5. It seems very strange that our media gives China a pass and heaps blame and derision on the president of the “free” nation, preferring the accusations and condemnation of one party over any constructive support. One might think that Trump is the enemy, rather than this pandemic and its source.
    Trump walks into every media session with a target plastered on his face. I don’t like the way he talks, but I admire his guts for doing it. He’ll probably come out of this job with an ulcerated stomach and be chased into the annals of history with the likes of CNN and the big three broadcast networks spitting and throwing garbage at his backside for years.
    But I think he’s doing a tough job and commits himself pretty well, considering.
    He’s the “Give em Hell” Harry Truman kind of leader and I think he’s the right man for the job at this time. I’m glad I love in this nation in spite of our propagandistic news creeps!

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