China’s social credit system has often been criticized for utilizing artificial intelligence to conduct mass surveillance and assign points on citizens’ behavior—creating a dystopian world similar to what George Orwell described in the novel “1984.” During the COVID-19 pandemic, a “health code” app was launched by social media giant WeChat for authorities to keep track of people’s movements and ostensibly, to contain the spread of the CCP virus. But some cyber experts worried that Beijing could weaponize the platform to further its monitoring and suppression of dissenters. On Sept. 3, the government in Suzhou city, Jiangsu Province introduced a “civilization code,” which would rank citizens on their level of civility and punish them if they scored low. But after much public uproar, three days later authorities announced that plans would be shelved, saying they would wait for the “right time” to implement it. The Suzhou city police bureau said in …
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