China has recently launched a virus passport system through government-affiliated WeChat, suggesting it could be used globally. The system assigns a QR code to an individual, which can then be scanned at checkpoints and used to restrict movement.
The virus passport system has raised many practical and ethical concerns due to the unequal availability of vaccines globally.
China and the U.S. have been trying to encourage one another to recognize their vaccines as valid and loosen up travel restrictions between them. Still, tensions and cooperation between the two nations are strained.
According to Breitbart, China is currently using the Sinovac Biotech vaccine, which is 50.83 percent effective, and the Sinopharm, which is 72.51 percent effective. In contrast, the U.S. uses the Pfizer vaccine, which is 95 percent effective; the Moderna vaccine, which is 94 percent effective; and the Johnson and Johnson, which is 66 percent effective.
China has already received heavy criticism for its surveillance system. Its highly controversial social credit system rates people as good or bad. It bases its ratings on minor offenses such as littering or disapproval of the Communist regime, resulting in restricted movement and travel.
China has touted its social credit system as “vital for the government to raise the social management level.” They bragged that as of March 2019, “13.49 million individuals have been classified as untrustworthy and rejected access to 20.47 million plane tickets and 5.71 million high-speed train tickets for being dishonest,” claiming that “with a population of 1.4 billion people… huge volumes of data is beyond the understanding of Western countries.”
Chinese leader Xi Jinping commends the virus passport QR code WeChat system as exceptional and attempted to promote it to other countries at the G20 summit on Nov. 21. A Global Times article claimed that Chinese technology could develop and initiate a global virus passport system within just 2-3 months.
“In terms of technology, I believe that Chinese companies can build an international platform in just one week, but it is better than the WHO, rather than any country or regional organization, be the organizer to ensure the independence, fairness, and data security of the platform,” Xiang Ligang, director-general of the Beijing-based Information Consumption Alliance told the Global Times.
China would like to get the World Health Organization (WHO) and the rest of the world on board with the virus passport system, but the WHO has the same apparent ethical concern that this would cause further oppression to already oppressed people.
“China would like to establish a mutual recognition mechanism based on fully accommodating each other’s concerns and friendly consultations, to facilitate cross-border people-to-people exchanges and promote a new order of healthy and safe personnel exchange,” a spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry Zhao Lijian said.
Israel uses a digital green pass system that gives vaccinated people greater privileges to attend public events or gain access to services. They also consider the Chinese virus passport system that would record vaccination status and test results. However, Israel’s vulnerability to hacking has surfaced with the CCP virus passport system.
Israel leads the way for vaccine rollouts, with 55 percent of Israelis being given one dose, and 41 percent have received their second dose. The green pass system they are using has helped many businesses reopen.
Bahrain has already introduced a vaccine passport, and the U.S. and United Kingdom are considering it as well. Denmark and Sweden are looking into launching health passports, while France and Germany have been resistant to the idea, according to France24. French President Emmanuel Macron has suggested a local permission slip program called a “health pass,” which would allow people greater access to public events and businesses.