China’s big data fails to help flood victims

Residents of Henan province, devastated by the floods in China, have disrupted their digital-oriented lifestyle with widespread power outages. With the spread of online payment apps, power outages in Zhengzhou have hindered the daily activities of many citizens, such as ordering food and accessing other necessities.

Many aspects of Chinese daily life are integrated with smartphones. Consumers of all ages mainly pay for products and services on their mobile phones using domestically developed apps associated with their bank accounts.

The Internet connection of smartphones was cut off, which greatly hindered the management of financial activities by the citizens of Zhengzhou.

NS Viral article A post on Chinese social media on July 22 entitled “Post-Disaster Zhengzhou: When a City Suddenly Loses the Internet” details the rapid changes in spending behavior of city residents.

Some companies were able to process cash transactions, while others had to go back to barter.

“At a fresh food supermarket near Seven Mile River, a middle-aged man came out of a dark building with an onion bag and a small winter squash when the owner was sitting in a hurry in front of the store,” Du Qiang said. Is writing. Article author.

The owner received only cash, Du wrote. The man asked to use Alipay, China’s largest phone payment app, but the owner refused because of lack of electricity. The man found a pack of cigarettes of about the same value and exchanged it for groceries.

Epoch Times Photo
On July 23, 2021, in Zhengzhou, a city in Henan Province, China, a man carries a bottle of water as he crosses a flooded street after a heavy rain.

Food delivery services, hotel reservations, and taxi rides were all affected by power shortages, Du said. He added that the city had technologically retreated by about 20 years as a result of the floods.

Du wrote that disaster relief is limited. He said it was difficult to get drinking water and it was the good Samaritans who were guiding the traffic around the sinkhole, not the civil servants.

Connectivity is about “total digital monitoring”

Taiwanese columnist Tsai Ichen, Written on Facebook Smartphones provide convenience, but more importantly, they make it easier for Communist authorities to monitor China’s population. Tsai said the flood disaster in Zhengzhou shows that the use of digital technology by Communist Party officials is not about people’s well-being.

“China has the only government in the world that has full digital surveillance of all its citizens,” he writes. “But when the disaster struck, the people of Zhengzhou were not contacted and were not told that they should not take the subway and immediately flee to the highlands.”

“”[That’s] Citizens who are alive or dead are not a problem. Those who oppose the government are of real concern. “

Mr Tsai said the Chinese lost their freedom and privacy for a little convenience.

“This shows that digital technology provides people with low-cost convenience by trading permanent political surveillance to the Chinese Communist Party. [Chinese Communist Party] And financial groups. But when it comes to really saving lives, [the CCP] I’m sitting there with my arms crossed. “

Daniel Holl and Jiang Yuchan contributed to the report.

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