IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - December 2019 - 80

adoption of advanced surveillance systems that China is
implementing [56]-[57].

Linking New and Oppressive Systems of
Surveillance to Concepts of Morality and Trust
Trends of continuity and change are evidently on display
within China's rapidly evolving surveillance regime. On
the one hand, the unfolding situation in Xinjiang demonstrates how the Chinese state has come to embrace a
terror and risk lexicon to justify its development and
implementation of new and oppressive systems of surveillance. For members of the Uyghurs and other ethnic
minorities this shift has resulted in a clandestine campaign of ethnic cleansing and the targeted eradication of
their culture. On the other, for the citizens of wider China
the encroachment of government control within the conduct of business and the everyday lives of people is taking place more subtly, albeit rapidly. Through the use of
new technologies, the Chinese state is attempting to
establish rating mechanisms across life domains and
link the notion of omnipresent surveillance to concepts
of morality and trust found within traditional Chinese
culture. The objective is the creation of a "culture of honesty and integrity" that reflects the interests of the ruling
CCP and grants it enhanced control over commercial,
political, and social life in China as it unfolds.
A reconceptualization of the system away from the
term "credit," with its strong financial connotations, and
towards a "Social Trust System," would help draw attention to the cultural dynamics now shaping the evolution
of the world's largest surveillance regime. Further,
research that sheds light on how Chinese people themselves view the development and implementation of
advanced surveillance technologies is both critically lacking and needed. A cursory assessment based on a survey
of netizens and social media sentiment indicates that
Western and Chinese attitudes towards China's fledgling
Social Credit System diverge significantly [58]. With the
globe's newest superpower poised to dominate the realm
of advanced surveillance technology, the scope of surveillance studies must be broadened to encompass nonWestern perspectives [2], while effort is made to
negotiate the development and application of new surveillance practices.

Author Information
Alexander Trauth-Goik is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Wollongong, School of Humanities and Social
Inquiry, Northfields Ave, Wollongong NSW 2522, Australia. Email: aptg993@uowmail.edu.au.

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80

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IEEE TECHNOLOGY AND SOCIETY MAGAZINE

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