You just went to a protest marking the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre. You were scared, but you went. You wore a mask and took a winding route home. No one could have seen you.
You arrive home to your Hong Kong apartment and decide to check your bank account. Did the rent get deducted yet?
But when you log in, you see the balance has gone from 21,000 yuan to zero.
A notice appears to contact your local Party office.
This is the future China wants to bring about. Its tools:
1) The social credit score
2) The digital yuan
3) The banning of cryptocurrencies other than the digital yuan
Today, China banned bitcoin and all other cryptocurrencies. All, that is, except its own digital yuan, which debuted this spring.
It wasn’t hard to see this coming. China banned cryptocurrency mining earlier this year. This is part of a long term trend toward total control under Xi Jinping.
China’s government has cracked down hard on tech companies, Hong Kong dissidents, and even seemingly random targets like celebrities.
What’s next? About five years ago, China’s government created a social credit score. Any action that upsets the government, from farebeating to protesting, can have dire consequences. One may be unable to get a loan, a job, or access the internet.
After the crypto ban, the next logical step for China’s dictatorship is to ban cash and all non-digital yuan. Then, all money is electronic, traceable, and centrally controlled.
Step out of line, and your life savings could be gone.
It’s a dark, dystopian future. But I strongly suspect it’s coming.
We in the United States and the rest of the free world should guard against any such thing being done here. I will be wary of attempts to ban cryptocurrencies or cash as paving the way for similar control. Control that has no place in a democratic society.
More on China tech:
China’s Real Goal in Tech Crackdown: A Regimented, Obedient Society
How China’s Tech Industry Dies
China Is Crushing One of Its Most Innovative Companies
Photo: “1984” by jason ilagan is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0
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