China’s Digital Authoritarianism Is Coming Our Way

A tripartite “digital authoritarianism” is coming, representing a new economic & societal transaction system that will bring about a loss of privacy, loss of freedoms, and all-encompassing government control. 

PUBLISHED ON

July 13, 2023

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A tripartite “digital authoritarianism” is just around the corner. It represents a new economic and societal transaction system that will affect everyone. While there are some benefits, the unspoken but alarming by-product is loss of privacy, loss of freedoms, and all-encompassing government control.  

A major component of digital authoritarianism is central bank digital currencies, or CBDCs.  They are government-backed digital currencies issued by a central bank. CBDCs are a digital representation of a traditional national currency like the dollar or regional currency like the euro.  Approximately 10 countries have already adopted CBDCs, and another 120 countries, representing about 95 percent of the world GDP, are seriously looking into CBDCs.   

Simultaneously, much of the world is moving toward a cashless society as well as implementing social monitoring systems. These are the other legs of digital authoritarianism’s three-legged stool. 

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Digital authoritarianism already occurs in communist China. CCP Inc. is embracing technology that promotes national digital identification merged with high surveillance technology, all controlled by advanced artificial intelligence. Chinese citizens and residents are issued a digital number. Identification facilitates the CCP Inc. surveillance state. The communist government tracks individuals’ employment, medical, criminal, and schooling records, as well as their buying habits, online browsing records, voiced political views, and even—through GPS technology—the places they have visited. 

For example, if an individual jaywalks, the forbidden activity will be picked up by one of the millions of surveillance cameras installed in Chinese cities. The footage will then be run through facial recognition software. All the collected personal data is then combined and processed and the individual is given a “social credit” score. In godless China, the CCP state defines trespasses. “Bad” citizens are punished, but “good” citizens are rewarded.   

China is exporting its digital authoritarianism model to totalitarian regimes including Iran, Cuba, and Venezuela. Russia’s Vladimir Putin has harnessed digital authoritarianism to track, censor, and control the population, building what some call a “cyber gulag.” The United Nations wants to take the concept worldwide. 

The UN is urging a “digital future” to include the adoption of “digital IDs linked with bank or mobile money accounts.” The IMF is promoting a comprehensive worldwide CBDC platform. Their globalist model is China. 

Digital IDs and social monitoring work hand in hand with the rise of a cashless society and the embracing of a national digital currency. In China, the catalyst and enabler for its CBDC is mobile payment technology. Mobile payments have been enthusiastically adopted by mainstream Chinese society.  

McKinsey projects the digital-payments industry will be worth $3 trillion by 2026, much of it generated by China. China is also the undisputed world leader in e-commerce via smartphone. If present trends continue, digital payment methods may totally replace cash in China and, eventually, globally. It’s ironic. China invented paper money.  

Chinese citizens, both urban and rural, use the ubiquitous mobile phone for almost all of their day-to-day communication and financial needs such as banking, shopping, and person-to-person (p2p) payments. In retail establishments, the most popular way to pay by phone is via QR code scanning. Even street beggars on Chinese streets hold signs with QR codes enabling them to solicit assistance. 

It is becoming increasingly difficult in some areas in China to buy groceries, pay for a taxi ride, or settle a bill at a restaurant without access to a mobile wallet. And, if by chance, a Chinese citizen doesn’t happen to have a phone, that isn’t going to be a problem much longer. A consumer just has to smile to pay for purchases. Facial recognition payment systems have been rolled out in over 100 Chinese cities. The system is designed to read nodal points in human faces which act as one’s “facial signature.” It is much the same technology used in the surveillance state’s social credit scoring. Pay-by-face is now going international, including the United States.

In 2017, the People’s Bank of China announced the development of its CBDC. The digital yuan is the world’s first digital currency issued by a major economic power. While cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin are decentralized and allow anonymous transactions, CBDCs are centralized and most use advanced blockchain technology. They track every transaction. 

Since power and control are the primary goals of the CCP, the adoption of the digital yuan is yet another tool to shape behavior and monitor security threats. In the not-too-distant future, when cash has disappeared and the digital yuan is the national currency, if a Chinese citizen displeases the state through a low social monitoring score or other reason, he or she can be demonetized.  

Think about the implications. Authoritarian CCP Inc. could deny a citizen access to funds to travel, eat, pay rent, pay for utilities, buy clothing, or provide for his or her family. Controlling money digitally provides the power to cut off an individual completely from the centralized monetary and financial system. A dissident, or even a rebellion, can be put down with a few clicks on an interface. The victim’s assets are frozen and possibly seized. He or she is left without financial means. Demonetization might make jail sentences unnecessary. A dissident, or even a rebellion, can be put down with a few clicks on an interface. The victim’s assets are frozen and possibly seized. He or she is left without financial means. Demonetization might make jail sentences unnecessary.Tweet This

State control of all forms of money and payments will undoubtedly be highly effective in combatting a myriad of financial crimes including tax evasion and capital flight. China leads the world in international money laundering as measured by its involvement in the world’s top twelve transnational crimes. With money laundering, “cash is king.” It provides the anonymity that is so attractive to criminals and criminal organizations. CBDCs are an innovative approach to following the money and value trails. The disappearance of cash will definitely assist Chinese law enforcement and intelligence agencies on multiple fronts.  

From the CCP’s viewpoint, the move toward a national digital currency also dovetails with their plans to lessen the world’s dependency on the dollar. The CCP can easily order Western corporate interests in China to adopt the digital yuan just like they have mandated other pay-to-play schemes. A digital yuan combined with a weak dollar further erodes sanctions as a tool of U.S. foreign policy.

There are also some consumer advantages to the adoption of fintech, mobile wallets, and digital currencies. They include convenience, ease of use, and the speed and low cost of transactions. 

Yet the risks far outweigh the gains. Digital authoritarianism will give even more power to the state by decreasing citizenry freedoms and civil rights. 

There are many interests that want to introduce the same type of population controls in the West.  In fact, Western interests helped CCP Inc. engineer many of the authoritarian technologies. There are signs that big tech and elite interests want the West to follow the CCP Inc. model. We do so at our peril.

On March 9, 2022, President Biden signed an Executive Order on “Ensuring Responsible Development of Digital Assets.” In other words, without much publicity, transparency, debate, or legislation, the current administration is taking the United States down the path to the national digitalization of the dollar. What could go wrong?  

With a digital dollar, a future U.S. government could follow the CCP model and simply order the demonetization of citizens that it deems threatening or objectionable. For example, individuals or groups that are labeled extreme, deplorable, insurrectionists, pro-life, pro-gun, pro-religion, anti-gay “marriage,” anti-transgender, election-deniers, etc., could have their access to “money” frozen and purchases for daily living expenses denied. The dangerous precedent was set when Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau used “emergency powers” to freeze bank accounts of truckers that protested the country’s vaccine mandate and oppressive Covid lockdown.  

Even the threat of having access to money denied by the government will intimidate people. Self-censorship will escalate. Working hand in glove with government-influenced social media platforms and Big Tech oligarchs, a potent new tool would be given to those that monitor and enforce “disinformation.” 

Segments of citizenry will become desperate for any type of payment mechanism that can help them meet their day-to-day living expenses. They will willingly give up their rights in exchange for any relief offered to them.  

The adoption of the digital dollar will affect every single American. It will radically transform lives. Will this, too, be imposed on us? Over the last few years, our government has increasingly demonstrated that it is seeking authoritarian powers in direct contravention of our inalienable rights. There is no doubt that a digital dollar will be weaponized and abused. 

Our God is not digital.  

[Image Credit: Shutterstock]

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