Do you ever think about the digital footprint you leave when you are browsing the web, shopping online, commenting on social networks or going by a facial recognition camera?

State surveillance of citizens is growing all over the world, but it is a fact of everyday life in China, where it has deep historical roots.

In China, almost nothing is paid for in cash anymore. Super apps make life easy: people use Alipay or WeChat Pay to pay for subway or bus tickets, rent a bike, hail a taxi, shop online, book trains and shows, split the bill at restaurants and even pay their taxes and utility bills.

The Chinese also use these platforms to check the news, entertain themselves and exchange countless text, audio and video messages, both personal and professional. Everything is linked to the user’s mobile phone number, which is itself registered under their identity. The government may access the data collected by Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent, Xiaomi and other operators.

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Iron Will

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