11/23/2020, 11.12
CHINA
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Xi Jinping proposes Qr system to kick start international travel

Barcodes have been used in China since the outbreak of the pandemic: the green color allows you to move around the country. Humanitarian Organizations: Dangers to Privacy. The Chinese president wants a "shared cyber community" globally, but the US is pushing to boycott Beijing's internet technology.

Beijing (AsiaNews) - A global mechanism that uses the Qr system to encourage the resumption of international travel, drastically reduced by the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. This was proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping this weekend during the virtual summit of the main world economies (G20), organized this year by Saudi Arabia.

The barcodes, which can be read through a smartphone, would be used to verify the health status of travellers, especially their possible negativity to Covid-19. It is also the system being used by China since February to track and monitor cases of contagion while allowing citizens to move: a green Qr means that the owner is healthy and can travel; an orange or red one implies a quarantine obligation.

According to expert forecasts, global air travel this year will stop at one third the level reached in 2019 due to the health emergency. With his proposal, Xi says he wants to facilitate an orderly resumption of travel flows also to reactivate global supply chains.

Fearing dangers to personal privacy, humanitarian organizations have rejected the Chinese leader's idea. Cited by the BBC, Human Rights Watch argues that attention to health prevention could prove to be a "Trojan horse" to exercise at the same time "control and exclusion" on a political basis.

For analysts, it will be difficult for Western countries to accept Xi's proposal. The fear is that Beijing aims to impose its own standards of social control, including those on internet access. Today, in a message read at the opening ceremony of the World Internet Conference, an initiative organized by the Chinese State in Wuzhen (Zhejiang), Xi invited all nations to work together for the creation of a "shared cyber community".

China is often criticized for its pervasive control of the internet, a model that seems difficult to export to the West. For example, the US is carrying out an international campaign to boycott the Chinese giant Huawei’s 5G internet technology, accused of spying on behalf of Beijing intelligence: the "Clean Network" initiative now involves dozens of countries in Europe, Asia, North and South America.

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