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China Uses the U.N. to Expand Its Surveillance Reach
Electronic surveillance equipment in Shanghai.
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China Uses the U.N. to Expand Its Surveillance Reach

Claudia Rosett

While the U.S. is trying to limit data flows to Beijing, the United Nations Secretariat in New York is working with Beijing to set up joint global data hubs based in China. Plans include a research center for crunching data from U.N. member states and a geospatial center to enlist China’s prowess with satellite surveillance.

Officially, the aim is to streamline and enhance the U.N.’s increasingly data-driven projects. This China-U.N. complex would be integrated into the U.N.’s master plan for global development, Agenda 2030. This entails 17 broad “sustainable development goals,” such as ending poverty and achieving “peace and justice.” Having run into difficulties collecting the desired data, the U.N. is on a campaign to boost reporting and unify standards across its 193 member states and throughout its sprawling agencies, departments and initiatives.

China, the world’s leading high-tech surveillance state, is happy to help. Arrangements for a China-U.N. big-data partnership are being finalized. The leader of the Chinese Communist Party, Xi Jinping, announced it in his speech on Sept. 22 to the U.N. General Assembly’s (virtual) 75th annual opening debate, promising to “support the U.N. in playing its central role in international affairs.” Mr. Xi asserted that “China will set up a U.N. Global Geospatial Knowledge and Innovation Center,” accompanied by “an International Research Center of Big Data for Sustainable Development Goals to facilitate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.”

Read the full article in the Wall Street Journal

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