For John, BLUF: The Government of China is about Citizens not getting out of line. Nothing to see here; just move along.
From Agence France-Presse, by an unnamed team of Reporters, 24 October 2018.
Here is the lede plus six:
On state television, the vocational education centre in China's far west looked like a modern school where happy students studied Mandarin, brushed up their job skills, and pursued hobbies such as sports and folk dance.Rumor Control has it that China has up to a million Muslim Uyghurs in re-education camps.
But earlier this year, one of the local government departments in charge of such facilities in Xinjiang's Hotan prefecture made several purchases that had little to do with education: 2,768 police batons, 550 electric cattle prods, 1,367 pairs of handcuffs, and 2,792 cans of pepper spray.
The shopping list was among over a thousand procurement requests made by local governments in the Xinjiang region since early 2017 related to the construction and management of a sprawling system of "vocational education and training centres".
The facilities have come under international scrutiny, with rights activists describing them as political re-education camps holding as many as one million ethnic Uighurs and other Muslim minorities.
Beijing had previously denied their existence. But a global outcry, including from the UN and the US, sparked a PR counter-offensive.
Government propaganda insisted the centres were aimed at countering the spread of separatism, terrorism and religious extremism through "free" education and job training.
However, an AFP examination of more than 1,500 publicly available government documents –- ranging from tenders and budgets to official work reports —- shows the centres are run more like jails than schools.
China is working on development of a "Social Credit System" to rack and stack all Chinese Citizens. [From Wikipedia]
On June 14, 2014, the China's State Council issued an outline for the national social credit system, it was titled "State Council Notice concerning Issuance of the Planning Outline for the Construction of a Social Credit System (2014–2020)". Law scholar Rogier Creemers translated the document into English.So, if your social credit score is poor you can't fly on airliners or put your kids in the good schools or gain other economic or social benefits. This is not a good thing.
The plan shows the government wants the basic structures of the Social Credit System to be in place by 2020. The goal being "raising the awareness for integrities and the level of credibility within society." It is presented as a means to perfect the “socialist market economy” (完善社会主义市场经济体制) as well as strengthening and innovating societal governance (加强和创新社会治理). This indicates that the Chinese government views it both as a means to regulate the economy at a business level and as a tool of governance to steer the behavior of citizens.
The outline focuses on four areas: "honesty in government affairs" (政务诚信), "commercial integrity" (商务诚信), "societal integrity" (社会诚信), and "judicial credibility" (司法公信). The Chinese government's plans includes credit assessment of businesses operating in China.
The Social Credit System is an example of China’s “top-level design” (顶层设计) approach. It is coordinated by the Central Leading Group for Comprehensively Deepening Reforms.
It is unclear whether the system will work as envisioned by 2020, but the Chinese government has fast-tracked the implementation of the system, resulting in the publication of numerous policy documents and plans since the main plan was issued in 2014. If the Social Credit System is implemented as envisioned, it will constitute a new way of controlling both the behavior of individuals and of businesses.
Hat tip to the InstaPundit.
Regards — Cliff