CHINA SOCIAL CREDIT TO-GO? The Vancouver, Canada location of a famed Chinese restaurant chain has just dubiously raised the bar in offering an authentic Chinese dining experience.
The Haidilao Hotpot restaurant has effectively installed a pilot social credit surveillance system, complete with cameras that watch every table. Manager Ryan Pan said the Chinese-made system was installed to “punish” staff if they didn’t adhere to corporate standards. But the system also records and mines customer activity and data.
Incredibly, Pan also admitted that captured video is sent back to China. He declined to specify the reason, except to say it was “secret.”
The Haidilao story might seem bizarrely singular, but as reported previously in the Trends Journal, China is actively pushing its surveillance technologies beyond its borders, including to western nations.
Haidilao, which was founded in Sichuan, China, has 935 worldwide locations, more than 36 million VIP members, and 60,000 plus staff. So, its foray into surveillance systems is noteworthy.
Currently, China’s “social credit system” infamously tracks and records social and financial behavior of its citizenry via a comprehensive, granular surveillance apparatus. Citizens who don’t adhere to approved behaviors and activities are penalized, stripped of rights, and worse. Disfavored persons and even whole populations including the Uighurs face a horror show of internment, culling of body parts for organ transplants, and enslavement.
Of course, perhaps China is also learning a thing or two about nuance from American-based technology giants like Google and Facebook, which have wielded their tremendous influence and captive user bases to politically suppress and manipulate public discourse and political activity, and push experimental COVID vaccines to an unwilling populace.