Author Topic: China - Should we be worried?  (Read 369 times)

Kaitsu

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China - Should we be worried?
« on: September 29, 2019, 10:46:39 AM »
Apparently next Tuesday, Oct 1st, marks China's 70th anniversary of rule by the Chinese Communist Party. Its celebrations will include one of its biggest ever military parades. But China is not just a rising military force, it is now economically the 2nd largest nation in the world and almost on a par with the US.

This is a staggering change in only 70 years. But China does not have the "burden" of a democratic electoral process and has a current president "for life". But does the Chinese population also have a different attitude towards the concept of State before individual, personal sacrifice for the common good ?

This is an interesting read from the BBC on the eve of this anniversary, and when one considers the continual growth of Chinese interests in other continents such as Africa and South America as well as in the core infrastructure of other nations and communities, one cannot help wondering - should we be concerned?

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-china-49835561

When I read this, I realised how little I actually know about China and its history and it has certainly sparked a new interest to learn more, much more, about this country that we will certainly be seeing and hearing a lot more of in the future, in the near future, our future.

Any thoughts?
« Last Edit: September 29, 2019, 10:48:39 AM by Emerson »
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Magyar

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Re: China - Should we be worried?
« Reply #1 on: September 29, 2019, 12:15:21 PM »
I think a lot of what China has achieved in the last 20 years is under appreciated in the West. They have gone from being basically a third world country to one of the top and have taken 100ís of millions out of poverty. Itís not perfect and itís different to how we do things in the West but still an outstanding achievement

Caesar

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Re: China - Should we be worried?
« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2019, 06:37:34 AM »
Big celebrations across China today, and among many Chinese across the globe.
How will Hong Kong protesters behave, and how/when will the authorities say enough is enough?

Then next week, on the 10th, we have Taiwans 70th celebrations.  Will be interested to see which western leaders attend-to do so would be seen as a massive insult to Beijing,  not something Xi would forgive and forget easily
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Caesar

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Re: China - Should we be worried?
« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2019, 07:28:45 AM »
Nice, bias-neutral,  article from BBC about China
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-49806247
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eddieb

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Re: China - Should we be worried?
« Reply #4 on: October 01, 2019, 07:35:16 AM »
No doubt about it,  China has come a long, long way.
Mistakes have been made and will continue to be, as happens elsewhere.  They have managed to become more western without having the huge problems the former-Soviet nations had after the break up of the USSR.
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Kaitsu

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Re: China - Should we be worried?
« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2019, 07:26:52 AM »
I don't know about others, but watching excerpts from that military procession gave me the shivers!

When I think how far China has come over 70 years and where in it now stands as almost joint no.1 economy, and what kind of military power it has become along side it, then I can't help feeling a wierd mixture of admiration and fearful awe.

When this kind of development occurs in a nation where the same single person is President, Party leader in a single party government and also head of the armed forces, combined with a heavy censorship of individual freedoms and rights, and a willingness to bulldoze over any obstacles that get in the way of the party objectives, then one has to be awe-struck in one way or another.

Long gone are the days when "Made in China" suggested a cheap plastic toy in a Christmas cracker.
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Kim

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Re: China - Should we be worried?
« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2019, 07:38:06 AM »
I think that, having seen the mess following the breakup of the Soviet Union, China is deeply concerned that something similar could happen to them if the government loosened their grip and allowed areas autonomy.
We arenít as free and liberal as we think in the West. Our politicians may be a bit more subtle in how they manipulate us and try to work around or outside the system. And some of the tales from Guantanamo Bay would make your hair curl.

Kaitsu

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Re: China - Should we be worried?
« Reply #7 on: October 02, 2019, 03:18:17 PM »
We arenít as free and liberal as we think in the West. Our politicians may be a bit more subtle in how they manipulate us and try to work around or outside the system. And some of the tales from Guantanamo Bay would make your hair curl.
I don't think there is the slightest similarity between western democratic politics and the single-party system that exists in China. Multiparty democracy means there are elections on a regular basis and each party has to consider how the electorate sees them. An unpopular party with unpopular policies is soon on the opposition benches. This  does not exist in China at all.

Although rights and personal freedoms have to be restricted in any society in order that the society can function, the degree of that restriction can be very widely interpreted and imposed in different societies.

For example, the use of CCTV and facial recognition is nowadays widespread in many countries but its usage is mainly in deterring and/or resolving law-breaking activities, which most people are OK with. But if these technologies are taken much further and applied to monitor one's compliance with party rulings and one's written and spoken comments, and to whom one associates with and even where one spends one's free time, then are we equally happy with that? And supposing that such monitoring is taken still one step further and one's rights and privileges are linked to one's behaviour and compliance?

Could this/is this happening in the West? Could this/is this happening in China? Would one want to be a party to this? What if one has no choice about it?
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eddieb

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Re: China - Should we be worried?
« Reply #8 on: October 02, 2019, 05:21:29 PM »
Isn't party policy the same as law? If a ruling party,  Communist,  Tory, Republican,  Labour, Democrat,  or whatever,  puts its policies into law then that is what it is. Sure, in most western nations there is a 2nd chamber to reject or rubber stamp this,  but it usually gets passed eventually.

Facial recognition is already here in the West
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/15/technology/britain-surveillance-privacy.html
and its not just government,  as the article goes on to say "a large London property developer acknowledged that it used the technology at Kings Cross, a commercial and transit hub."

Personally I don't have a problem with it, but I realise its a very emotive subject.  But think how many terror attacks may have been prevented or discouraged had this been in widespread use? How many rapes,  murders, robberies prevented?

One only has to look at the crime statistics to see how very few end up with prosecutions due to lack of evidence or lack of manpower to investigate.  Maybe traditional policing methods are redundant and different solutions need trying?

Just a thought
« Last Edit: October 02, 2019, 05:27:29 PM by eddieb »
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Kaitsu

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Re: China - Should we be worried?
« Reply #9 on: October 03, 2019, 08:19:09 AM »
Isn't party policy the same as law? If a ruling party,  Communist,  Tory, Republican,  Labour, Democrat,  or whatever,  puts its policies into law then that is what it is. Sure, in most western nations there is a 2nd chamber to reject or rubber stamp this,  but it usually gets passed eventually.
Naturally, whatever a parliament passes as law is law. But the process of getting to that eventual law is vastly different in a multiparty system compared with the totalitarian situation in countries like China. I think the British parliament throughout the Brexit saga is a good enough example of that. And, in addition to the bi-party type parliaments of countries like the UK and US, there are many countries that work on a basis of a coalition government comprising a number of political parties.

The big difference is that the political bias of these national parliaments change regularly according to the majority view of the population instead of a unilateral enforcement of party politics regardless of the views of the populace. This difference is regularly evidenced in the reversal of laws made by previous governments in democratic parliaments.

Which is best really depends on who one is and where one stands regarding the policies of the government concerned.

Facial recognition is already here in the West
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/15/technology/britain-surveillance-privacy.html
and its not just government,  as the article goes on to say "a large London property developer acknowledged that it used the technology at Kings Cross, a commercial and transit hub."

Personally I don't have a problem with it, but I realise its a very emotive subject.  But think how many terror attacks may have been prevented or discouraged had this been in widespread use? How many rapes,  murders, robberies prevented?

One only has to look at the crime statistics to see how very few end up with prosecutions due to lack of evidence or lack of manpower to investigate.  Maybe traditional policing methods are redundant and different solutions need trying?

Yes it is, and will surely continue to develop. Border control is perhaps a very good example of where facial recognition can be very useful.

I doubt many would argue against its use in crime-fighting by deterring or resolving crimes. Although some will always roll out the "freedom of the individual" and "Big Brother" arguments against it. There is also the issue of its reliability. How real is the risk of mistaken identity if the facial recognition technology is not 100% accurate.

But does it end there? Whilst crime-fighting is one aspect, there is also the control over the population. Does one want one's everyday life and choices evaluated accorded to government "recommendations"? And that one's compliance, or non-compliance, then determines one's job opportunities, style of accommodation, access to foreign holidays and other perks, who one is allowed to talk to, spend time with, what you are allowed to watch and read, what you can say and do?

For example, does one want free and equal access to a forum such as this, or have one's access controlled by its authorities via, for example, "maintenance shutdowns" whenever someone is recognised as having contrary views on issues? (A tongue-in-cheek, and entirely hypothetical, example!)

This is an interesting article from The Economist:



In summary, I don't want to live under the rule of Trumpism, nor Johnsonism, nor Putinism, but are prospects under JinPingism any better? 
« Last Edit: October 03, 2019, 08:32:16 AM by Emerson »
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Caesar

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Re: China - Should we be worried?
« Reply #10 on: October 16, 2020, 07:01:21 PM »
Facial recognition is more rampant in the UK than we realise
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eddieb

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Re: China - Should we be worried?
« Reply #11 on: October 18, 2020, 09:19:06 AM »
Its not just facial recognition we should be concerned about, but AI in general.
Lots of us have smart devices in our homes- lights, music, watches, meters, thermostats, and the list grows as the Internet of Things moves closer. Most of us are aware that these devices collect information about us which is stored by Google/Amazon/etc and then used by them to predict our likely future behaviour, also that they sell some of our information on to third parties (just look at the T&C's for your device).
What many dont realise is that this information can also be used to influence our behaviour- choosing what services/products shown on Internet searches are most likely to result in a purchase, colour or placement of "buy" buttons, when to show us offers on energy drinks (just after our fitness tracker shows we've done a workout), promote our favourite bands latest CD or live concert (after we've listened to them on our Amazon or Google device).
The more these devices learn about us and learn how we are best influenced for their benefit, the more it becomes the tail wagging the dog. We won't be choosing what we buy, we'll be buying what they tell us.
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