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China makes a new big push to digitize everything

Complete centralized control.

The “digitization of everything” has served China and the very core of its policies very well thus far, so it would come as no surprise that the country is pressing on to expand this trend as far as it can go.

The appeal of digitization is not only in its obvious advantages of simplifying and streamlining the life of citizens: more and more countries, many likely looking up to China, are also using the trend of making what used to be physical into digital to simply easily centralize it in one place, make it easily accessible to the authorities at all times.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, reports say, is now introducing “a new era” of all this, and it is supposed to see one of the world’s superpowers and one with the largest number of inhabitants create a digital scheme called “one card.” This document will build on what China already has in digital form – social security ID that is needed for getting a job or insurance.

But now – under a 14th in a row five-year-plan that ends in 2026 – the “one card” will expand to an array of other, vital to everyday life services, like those provided by the government, healthcare (including buying medicines), subsidies, and more.

“One card” will technologically sit on top of blockchain-based “big platform,” i.e., a massive cloud. This represents a very interesting intersection of what’s supposed to be the backbone of decentralization, with what appears to be designed as ultimate centralization of (personal) data.

To shoehorn things even more, thus centralized data and services will be accessible from a single portal, reports quoting the document presented by President Xi say.

Historic data will be included in the effort, too, to produce data comparison, ID pictures, status verification, etc., that various government departments and business entities will share.

To spur citizens to embrace this new step in the evolution of digitization, the government will “improve the service levels and security of newly integrated digital systems” – reportedly incorporating “peerless data security and personal privacy.”

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