A Chinese government propaganda app “Xuexi Qiangguo”, is at the top of the charts of Apple China’s app store.
“Xuexi Qiangguo”, whose literal translation is “Study to make China strong” was developed by Alibaba and has overtaken Doukin, the Chinese version of TikTok, as the country’s most popular app.
The app’s main purpose is to boost XI’s cult of personality and advance his political outlook, “Xi Jinping Thought,” which is a fundamental plank of Chinese Communism. Users of this app are eligible to win prizes if they successfully complete quizzes on Xi’s life and writing.
However, the app’s meteoric rise is artificial. The UK Guardian reported that the government called on Communist Party members to download the app and directed local officials to promote it to their constituents. This comes as no shock when considering that Jack Ma, the Chairman of Alibaba who presided over the app’s development, is a member of the Chinese Communist Party.
The Guardian has also detailed how Chinese employers have integrated the propaganda app into their employee evaluation process. Low quiz scores on the app can prevent employees from getting promotions within their companies.
As of late, Chinese companies have been under considerable scrutiny for their questionable censorship and anti-privacy policies.
For example, companies like Tik Tok have generated considerable controversy lately. Since its launch in 2016, Tik Tok has become the most downloaded app in the IOS app store.
According to Affinity, Tik Tok “contains contradictory language, inconsistent application, and unintelligible onerous provisions, and it mandates arbitration.”
Additionally, there isn’t much redress for customers should the app violate its terms of service:
“Arbitration prohibits filing lawsuits and class actions- meaning that nobody can sue as a collective group, results are binding, and no appeal is possible, regardless of crimes committed by or on the app.”
Tik Tok has been caught in numerous data scandals as of late. It doesn’t help that there are no privacy features on the app, which leaves users’ personal information subject to theft.
As a result, the Peterson Institute for International Economics has labeled TikTok a “Huawei-sized problem” that poses a national security to countries like the U.S.
This serves as a firm reminder of why the U.S. needs to focus more on national defense rather than nation-building. Instead of trying to fix Third World backwaters, the U.S. should be updating its cyber-security infrastructure to confront the very real threat of cybercrimes and other forms of transgressions in cyberspace.
China has proven to be a nasty actor with regard cybercrimes. Until the Communist country is able to get its corporate house in order, the U.S. should steer clear of anymore trade agreements with the country.
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