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Home Politics China - NZ Relations How China’s high-tech ‘eyes’ monitor behavior and dissent

How China’s high-tech ‘eyes’ monitor behavior and dissent

Technology is transforming China, helping improve life in some ways, but also collecting big data. The government is beginning to convert that data and surveillance footage into social credit scores, which critics say can be used to penalize those who criticize the Communist Party. Nick Schifrin reports as part of “China: Power and Prosperity,” with support from the Pulitzer Center.

Read the Full Transcript

  • Judy Woodruff:Chinese technology has helped that country achieve extraordinary growth.But critics say it is facilitating a surveillance state.Tonight, we begin two stories focusing on Chinese technology.It’s part of our series “China: Power & Prosperity.”With the support of the Pulitzer Center, Nick Schifrin begins in a remote area that is becoming more connected.
  • Nick Schifrin:In China’s Lipu Mountains, past rolling hillside farms, the remote city of Guilin is nestled into a valley and built along a riverbank that’s been inhabited for 10,000 years.Today, this old town is getting older. The population is older, and often needs medical care. The closest hospital is far. So, on this day, they line up for a mobile clinic on a bus. Visiting specialists have a small room in the back for X-rays and a nearby room for eye specialists to check for cataracts.In this clinic, everything is electronic. And all the patient records and data feed into a single phone application. It’s made by the company Ping An, and the app is called Good Doctor.Local doctor Luo Jiangshan says the technology changes everything.
  • Luo Jiangshan (through translator):Before we had this platform, patients had to go so far away. It was a big burden. Now, with this platform, it saves both money and time.
  • Nick Schifrin:For decades, a country that suffered from widespread rural poverty relied on so-called barefoot doctors to provide remote areas medical care.Today, technology, from medicine, to telecommunications, to artificial intelligence, is helping transform the country.
  • Jessica Tan:China is quite unique because it’s been a rapidly developing country. So we have very, very uneven distribution. Technology helps to bridge those gaps and deliver service, particularly in an environment like this.
  • Nick Schifrin:Jessica Tan is the co-CEO of Ping An, whose building towers over Shenzhen, China’s Silicon Valley.Ping An boomed financially into the world’s second largest insurance company. But now it’s celebrating by turning old insurance into new tech. Last month, Ping An unveiled new facial recognition software for drivers. Those markings judge whether she’s a good driver and feeds all her data into Ping An’s database.

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