Video: abc.net.au Foreign Corespondent (27.14 minutes)
One could argue that Mao’s China was communist, but in my view China quickly became a dictatorship (which is hardly Marxist) and based on the cult of the leader (Stalin, Mao, Castro, Kim ll-Sung, as with Fascism and National Socialism before them) which is ironically that which they opposed, the Romanovs, the Qing dynasty and so on.
China scholars sometimes say that the CCP has no ideology, but I would say their ideology is about fear and control. For the CCP, control of the population is paramount (usually argued over the issue of population size, but ignores India as a comparative). Of course, fear comes packaged in many guises, usually plausible necessity – ‘we must do this together for the good of the country because …’ (The usual drivel around scapegoating). If you disagree or protest you are labelled as a dissident or a criminal, and in China that is a virtual death.
China didn’t invent facial recognition, that began in the U.S. with Woodrow Wilson Bledsoe in the 1960s, but China has been the world’s leading pioneer in mass utilisation for population control, as per the above video. The new control is Social Credit, an insidious policing and censorship. Essentially it regulates every aspect of public life from travel, to behaviour, including shopping choices. China is using the technology to contain its population, and it has intentionally become a new form of house arrest. In the video above the once popular journalist has become a pariah according to the CCP (because he uncovered corruption at high levels of govt.), and is restricted in income and travel as well as access to certain people and processes thereby rendering his work and movement impossible, all without recourse to trial. The other factor is racial profiling, and the Chinese govt. is tracking Uighers among others, for the purpose of control.
Also in the video above the successful couple have very high social credit based on their compliance, profession and shopping choices. It is the new disguised capitalism of China that favours an elite and so a new class system has been created. Eventually one becomes a drone or a prole to use Orwell’s language, pushed and directed by every institutional whim, for the good of the nation of course. China is not alone in this, just more advanced and unashamed in the process.
Notably, in the U.S. the cities of Cambridge, San Francisco, Oakland and Somerville have taken preemptive steps to ban the use of facial recognition technologies on the basis that such technologies are a breach of freedom of speech and privacy, and have already been seen to be used to unfairly target activists, minorities, race and women. Such technology is being used to punish those who criticise government.
D.H. Lawrence (1885 – 1930) didn’t mind slinging off, but when he spoke critically of America, he couldn’t have known that his observations would apply world-wide within a generation: “America is neither free nor brave, but a land of tight, iron-clanking little wills, everybody trying to put it over everybody else, and a land of men (sic) absolutely devoid of the real courage of trust, trust in life’s sacred spontaneity. They can’t trust life until they can control it.”
What could possibly go wrong?!