In China, you can run, but you can’t hide.
Whether you’re walking down the sidewalk, browsing an internet chat forum or having a conversation with a friend, the red eye of the party is always watching.
The Chinese have to keep their mouths shut and their eyes closed when it comes to any wrongdoings by the government. Not only because the government prevents citizens and journalists alike from speaking ill about the party through censorship (and suspicious disappearances), but the information they have access to is strictly regulated.
Unless a citizen has been overseas, or has the know-how to access the dark web, chances are they don’t know about the Tiananmen massacre of 1989, the Falun Gong, or even the Dalai Lama. Any attempt to search information will be met with an error page, and search engines that would reveal the truth (i.e. Google) are strictly banned.
This is a long-established tactic of the communist party intended to keep their image as an all-powerful, but benevolent force pristine and intact. A scheme that has been incredibly effective.
The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws
But in recent years, with the progression of technology, the methods of surveillance have become more advanced. And the Chinese people are being pushed further and further down by the thumb of totalitarianism.
As the Roman historian Tacitus astutely observed, ‘the more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws.’ An assertion that is absolutely true of China’s latest attempt at total control — the social credit system.
The system, which has already been rolled out in numerous cities and provinces, basically involves each citizen starting with a number of points (whether that be 100 or 1,000) and retaining or losing them depending on how ‘good’ of a citizen they are.
If your credit rating is high, you reap the benefits. Which can sometimes involve perks like free gym memberships and cheaper public transport fares. But more importantly, a good score allows you to remain as an equal member of society.
Conversely, the implications of a sub-par credit rating are dire. If your score drops too low, you face travel and public service restrictions, and your university and job prospects are seriously impacted.
A score can be brought down by acts like littering, jaywalking, unpaid or late bills, domestic abuse and traffic infringements. And last year alone, China banned people from buying plane or train tickets 23 million times due to low social credit.
Nationwide rollout by 2020
By 2020, the government plans to roll out the system nationwide, with the help of internet giants Alibaba and Tencent. This is a move that will no doubt push China into a terrifying new era of connectivity, with cameras on every street corner, and private companies indiscriminately sharing the personal data of users with the government. By 2020, there will truly be nowhere to hide.
Already in one Chinese province, Hebei, a WeChat program alerts citizens when they are within 500 metres of someone who is on the blacklist. Another county, Pu’an, warns callers when they are about to speak to someone who has lost too many credit points:
‘Hello, Pu’an County People’s Court reminds you that the person you have dialed has been included in the list of discredited individuals, please be careful if you associate with him!’
In light of this newfound power, and other incidents of China meddling in foreign politics, nations around the globe are becoming rightly wary of China’s wandering gaze. This is why we’ve seen so much commentary in the news about governments barring Chinese companies like Huawei from gaining access to global communications networks.
But the reality is that China is internationally revered (or demonised) for their technology capabilities for good reason. They’re ahead of the curb when it comes to telecommunications, particularly when it comes to technology that allows them to spy more effectively.
With that said however, it’s not all bad. While most of the time China’s determination to be number one leads to exploitation, sometimes it can result in marvels in technology never before seen.
According to China’s state-run CTGN for example, a surgeon in China recently performed the world’s first remote brain surgery on a patient with Parkinson’s disease. The surgeon, Dr Ling Zhipei, performed the three-hour surgery from Hainan on the patient who was located in Beijing — approximately 3,000km away.
The surgery was able to take place through a computer connected to a 5G network powered by China Mobile and Huawei.
As Dr Zhipei told CTGN:
‘The 5G network has solved problems like video lag and remote control delay experienced under the 4G network, ensuring a nearly real-time operation. And you barely feel that the patient is 3,000 kilometers away.’
Of course, communist state-run media is often unreliable. But there’s no doubt that we’re getting closer to a world where 5G allows us to routinely defy the laws of place and time. Once the issue of latency is solved, the AI, or robotic device being used by the surgeon can do its job without lag. A development which opens up many new doors when it comes to different industries doing work remotely.
Right now, 5G is entering its final stage of development, and countries all over the world are competing to be the first to make it commercially viable. China for example has allocated 60% of their US$256 billion tech budget in 2019 to advancing telecommunications and 5G in particular.
Japan, the US and South Korea are the other main countries in the race to launch 5G by 2020. But that doesn’t mean they’re the only ones.
Australia is also fast catching up when it comes to being one of the first nations to roll out 5G. And the infrastructure for one technology in particular, which Harje has dubbed ‘hypernet’ in his latest research report, can already be seen in various places around the country.
This new hypernet technology is 800 times faster than the NBN, is completely wireless and most importantly, puts us in the running to challenge China when it comes to communications.
Aside from that, it’s also an incredible opportunity for investors to jump into the next greatest innovation in tech before it takes off.
As Harje writes in his latest report released earlier this week, each time the internet has evolved, like the advent of the World Wide Web in 1991 and the creation of 4G technology in the 2000s, massive opportunities for wealth creation arise.
When Tim Berners-Lee created the internet for example, it resulted in catastrophic stock gains that in one case exceeded 83,000%.
While this may sound farfetched, Harje believes the ASX-listed countries helping to build the hypernet infrastructure have the potential to quadruple your money in the next 12–18 months. Even tech giant, Qualcomm believed the hypernet rollout will create $12.3 trillion in new wealth by 2035.
Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and global governments are all waiting with bated breath, open wallets in hand. If you’d like to get in alongside them, and beat the Chinese government at their own game, you can read Harje’s just-released report, right here.
This week in Money Morning
Did you hear the news? Google is jumping head first into a $250 billion industry — online games. Word on the street is that Facebook is also going into e-commerce. And as Harje wrote on Monday, this is all part of a larger trend that investors have the opportunity to get in on…
To learn more, click here.
Smart classrooms that beam knowledge into students’ heads…almost entirely automated farms…mankind having the ability to fly…
These were all predictions made in 1899. And they got it all right. Because as Harje wrote on Tuesday, the data revolution we’re about to see will allow some of the greatest technology leaps mankind has ever seen.
To learn more, click here.
Like the researcher Paul Baran, who came up with the idea for the internet, Elon Musk also has plans to save humanity from all-out war. He wants to colonise Mars. Although many people find this idea farfetched, as Harje wrote on Wednesday, it’s ideas like these which will take us into the next era of humanity. And Harje thinks he’s found another one which you can invest in…
To read the full story, click here.
Right now we’re hearing many calls for limits on big tech. It’s not an entirely original idea. People have sung that tune before. For centuries in fact, we’ve seen success, have grown jealous, and then have wanted to stand in its way. We call it tall poppy syndrome here in Oz. But as Harje wrote on Thursday, the absence of competition would be mark the end of society.
To learn why, click here.
Australia’s oldest investment partnerships shutting its doors. Yes, JCP — the once $10 billion fund — is selling off assets and returning cash to investors. Why, you may ask? Well on Friday Harje explains his controversial theory.
To learn more, click here.
Until next week,
Editor, Money Weekend
PS: In this free report, Kris Sayce reveals his five-step ‘booster system’ you can use to potentially super-charge your retirement pot in 2019 and beyond. Download now.