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"Chinese smart cities are moving from utopia to dystopia"

“Chinese smart cities are moving from utopia to dystopia”

eIs it a coincidence? Barely elected in February “The smartest city in the world”“Smart Cities”) by the British Cabinet search for juniperFor two months, Shanghai also became the largest prison in the world. 25 million people have remained strictly indoors for between 60 and 90 days, depending on the neighborhood.

It is too early to judge such a large prison, and it is undoubtedly unprecedented. But among the thousands of patients who couldn’t go to health centers, the people who threw themselves out of their windows, the people who went crazy or lost their jobs, the thousands of immigrants who got stuck in that city, sometimes no “because we don’t” I don’t know where I sleep, this assessment is more dramatic than the authorities claim.

months later “The smartest city in the world” It prides itself on managing zero Covid better than the rest of the country. At the slightest positive case detected for Covid-19, the mall was either closed immediately (sometimes with customers inside), or the building was shut down, which is the case.

This illusion of the “dynamic” management of Zero Covid, made possible by the massive presence of thermal cameras and controlling the movements of each individual, has failed miserably. To prevent the spread of the virus, Shanghai authorities resorted to an older solution in late March: forcing residents to stay indoors by putting good old locks on their doors. By the way, by calling thousands of police officers.

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It is clear that officials in Shanghai see the problem differently. If the virus can spread, it is because they do not have enough information about the population yet. For example, on May 24 the municipality issued a decree requiring all departments responsible for police, business control, building management, registration office, health and social protection to centralize their data in order to make “digital government” more efficient.

Imprisonment and fines

The case does not stand alone. In an effort to escape the epidemic, China’s smart cities are evolving from a utopia to a miserable reality. Since the Zero Covid policy is based on the early detection of positive cases, this has become almost daily and mandatory. Siping (3.3 million people in the north-east of the country) face ten days in prison, a 70-euro fine and deterioration of the rebels’ social credit. The case does not stand alone.

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