Article 4AE74 China’s “democracy” includes mandatory apps, mass chat surveillance

China’s “democracy” includes mandatory apps, mass chat surveillance

by
Sean Gallagher
from Ars Technica on (#4AE74)
GettyImages-1128720182-800x534.jpg

Enlarge / Deputies of the 13th National People's Congress listen to Chinese Premier Li Keqiang's speech during the opening of the Two Sessions at The Great Hall of People on March 5, 2019 in Beijing, China. (credit: y Andrea Verdelli/Getty Images)

As the National People's Congress gathers in Beijing for the beginning of China's "Two Sessions" political season, state media is making an international propaganda push on social media—including on platforms blocked by China's "Great Firewall"—to promote China's "system of democracy."

70 years in 5 minutes: Chinese democracy in the eyes of an American. #TwoSessions pic.twitter.com/wJDlwzyAKy

— China Xinhua News (@XHNews) March 2, 2019

That system of democracy apparently involves mass surveillance to tap into the will of the people. While China's growth as a surveillance state has been well-documented, the degree to which the Chinese leadership uses digital tools to shape the national political landscape and to control Chinese citizens has grown even further recently. That's because authorities have been tapping directly into Chinese Communist Party (CCP) members' and other Chinese citizens' online activities and social media profiles.

The little red app

The China Media Project reports that the CPP has mandated party members download a new smartphone application called "Xi Study (Xue Xi) Strong Nation" (学习强国)—an application that provides a library of articles and videos carrying the teachings of Chinese President Xi Jinping. Party and government groups were to institute mandatory group training periods using Xi Study—similar to the periods of study of Mao's "Little Red Book" once required by the party.

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