EMERGING ISSUES ON THE HILL: Aides Should Be Wary Of China’s QR Code Tracking Proposals

Speaking to last weekend’s G20 Summit, China’s strongman, Xi Jinping, encouraged world leaders to follow his country’s example in establishing digital systems to track and regulate the domestic and international movement of citizens, based on factors like their Covid health status.

(Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash).

“While containing the virus, we need to restore the secure and smooth operation of global industrial and supply chains. We need to reduce tariffs and barriers, and explore the liberalization of trade of key medical supplies.

“We need to further harmonize policies and standards and establish ‘fast tracks’ to facilitate the orderly flow of personnel. China has proposed a global mechanism on the mutual recognition of health certificates based on nucleic acid test results in the form of internationally accepted QR codes,” Xi said.

Sounds innocuous, no? When you realize what Xi is suggesting in his reference to QR codes, it ought to raise all kinds of red flags on Capitol Hill. LifeSite’s Michael Haynes explains:

“China has been operating a QR code system for several months now, with three colors used to denote the level of freedom an individual might have.

A green code permits a person the most freedom of movement, whilst an amber code means one must be ‘quarantined for seven days.’ A person with a red code has ‘to go into government quarantine or self-quarantine for 14-days.'”

Haynes adds that “the Financial Times reported in May, that for users of the system who had a red code, ‘the police might be called.’” In other words, this is serious business.

The New York Times, according to Haynes, flagged the system for concerns that go way beyond merely providing a public health tool for tracking the spread of diseases like Covid, especially because the Chinese state was involved in its design and development.

That is why, according to the Times, the system “appears to share information with the police, setting a template for new forms of automated social control that could persist long after the epidemic subsides.”

Put another way, the same QR code-based system that can assign people colors that denote something about their health can also be used to regulate where they can, what they can do, jobs for which they can be hired, and a myriad of other daily tasks and functions that a centralized, dictatorial authority might wish to control.

China is not alone in using digital tools to track Covid, according to Kim Bellard, writing in Medium in a post tellingly entitled “The New Scarlet Letter.”

Bellard says Singapore’s system is called “TraceTogether” and, quoting the  Washington Post, he notes that South Korea has put up a publicly available map of all known Covid carriers and their movements. Similar systems are in development around the world, including in the U.S., he reports.

Civil libertarian alerts ought to be sounding loudly at this point, as even the Times worries about the dangers inherent in such a system. Bellard points out:

If such warnings and the characteristics of systems like the China-proposed QR code network sound somehow familiar, they should because they are not new, at least to Western ears.

In fact, John, “the disciple Jesus loved,” warned of these developments in the book of Revelation’s 13th chapter in the New Testament, discussing the coming of the Anti-Christ:

“Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name.

“This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666.”

This is not to say Xi is the Anti-Christ or that China’s particular QR code proposal heralds the imminent arrival of a world dictatorship like that described in Revelation. But John’s warning 2,000 years ago looks rather more prescient now than biblical critics and skeptics have ever been willing to admit, no?


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Author: Mark Tapscott

Follower of Christ, devoted husband of Claudia, doting father and grandfather, conservative lover of liberty, journalist and First Amendment fanatic, former Hill and Reagan aide, vintage Formula Ford racer, Okie by birth/Texan by blood/proud of both, resident of Maryland. Go here: https://hillfaith.blog/about-hillfaith-2/