The upcoming Winter Olympic games aren’t just the genocide Olympics. They are also the totalitarian Olympics.
James Hohmann reports:
China is requiring anyone attending the Winter Olympics to download an app on their cellphone that will allow the surveillance state to track their movements. Ostensibly to help with coronavirus contact tracing, the software also includes glaring encryption flaws that make it easier for authorities to snoop on athletes in attendance as well as a special file with 2,442 keywords that could trigger the nation’s formidable censorship apparatus.
China deems 2,442 words dangerous enough to trigger censorship? If true, China is even more totalitarian than I thought. And maybe more evil. 2,442 words suggests a huge amount of awful deeds in need of covering up.
The banned terms on the Olympic app include unwelcome references to Taiwan, Hong Kong, Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang, Tibetan Buddhists and the Dalai Lama, Tiananmen Square and the Falun Gong. But the list also highlights more obscure sore spots, such as infighting between ex-leaders Hu Jintao and Jiang Zemin.
There’s also a feature that allows users to report “politically sensitive” content they see coming from others. Yes, the technology encourages reporting on the banned or discouraged speech of others.
If the Chinese haven’t already included the words “green,” “carbon,” and “environment” as triggering, they might want to. Although China bills its Olympics as green and carbon-neutral, this report suggests they will be anything but.
How should U.S. journalists responded to China’s odious snooping? By refusing to come to China to cover the games.
How are they responding? By trying to limit the damage to their own privacy.
According to the Washington Post:
Journalists covering the Winter Olympics next month say they’ll do their work in Beijing on brand-new cellphones and laptops. When the Games are over, they’ll simply leave them behind or throw them away.
The reason: Reporters are concerned that any devices they use there could become infected with tracking software, enabling Chinese authorities to spy on their contents. Hence, the use of “burner” phones and computers.
That’s not all:
In addition to using a new phone and laptop, USA Today’s [Christine] Brennan said, she intends to keep her devices’ camera lenses covered when not in use, after hearing warnings that hackers can manipulate cameras from afar to surveil a user.
China cites the pandemic as justifying surveillance of foreign visitors. No one outside the International Olympic Committee is even pretending to buy this excuse.
There was no pandemic when China hosted the Summer Olympics in 2008. Yet, reporters complained of intrusions into their privacy back then. Now, with so many technological breakthroughs and 14 years of additional evil committed, China has stepped up its oppression game.
Brennan, for whom this year’s Olympics will be her 20th, says:
It’s naive to think the pandemic hasn’t played right into China’s hands. They would have wanted to control us, anyway. This just gives them another excuse. China will be China.
Right. And the American sports and media establishment will accept China as it is, with a few workarounds.
But American sports viewers shouldn’t. We should refuse to watch these games. Tuning them out won’t punish China very much, but it will deliver a blow to NBC and to the advertisers who are complicit in the genocide, totalitarian Olympics.