ARGENTINA - Will Chinese Technology Help Curb Crime?

Arno Froese

In Argentina’s remote northern province of Jujuy, Chinese telecoms giant ZTE is installing a little slice of the Asian nation’s vast surveillance state—security cameras that the local government says will help to curb street crime.

Even this relatively small, little-reported deal is raising concerns in Washington, which is increasingly warning allies not to buy Chinese technology that it says could be used by Beijing to spy on its customers.

ZTE Corp sealed a nearly $30 million surveillance contract with Jujuy in March to provide cameras, monitoring centers, emergency services, and telecommunications infrastructure. ZTE first made its sales pitch three years ago.

The deal is an example of the tech inroads China is making in Latin America even as the United States warns about the dangers of using Chinese technology, especially related to surveillance. A Chinese official in Buenos Aires told Reuters the Jujuy project could help China expand its tech footprint in the country, by encouraging other cities to adopt similar technology.

The U.S. worries about the project, which have not been previously reported, show how the United States is scrutinizing both big deals and small in its efforts to slow the spread of Chinese security technology around the globe.

The United States has offered little public evidence to support its warnings to allies, and Argentine and Chinese officials played down concerns about the Jujuy project in interviews and statements to Reuters.

Jujuy already has close ties to China. A Chinese company is heavily invested in lithium mining in the province and China has provided the financing and technology for a huge solar farm, South America’s largest.

Now Jujuy can be “safe like China,” the local government said in an announcement about the event.

China’s lower crime rate is due in part to its sprawling—and contentious—surveillance apparatus of cameras, facial recognition software, citizen databases and courts controlled by the ruling Communist Party that have high conviction rates.

The Chinese official in Buenos Aires dismissed U.S. worries as “anxiety” over the success of Chinese firms, especially in the race towards 5G telecommunications technology that firms like ZTE and Huawei Technologies Co Ltd are spearheading.

Jujuy officials have reason to be open to affordable Chinese tech. The province is one of the poorest in Argentina and has crime rates slightly above the national average.

Security Minister Ekel Meyer said in an interview in San Salvador de Jujuy that residents accepted the watchful eye of the security cameras in exchange for safer streets.

He wants to take it even further by expanding the system to include facial recognition technology, a tool China has been rolling out as part of its domestic surveillance web.

Meyer said any citizen who was law abiding had nothing to fear from the surveillance system. “This protects him,” he said., 5 July 2019

Arno's commentary

China’s ability to detour Western security concerns is quite astonishing. This is not just happening in South America, but large-scale projects and undertakings are beings spread literally all over the world, particularly in Africa and Asia. Europe too is concerned about communist China’s dominance. Yet they are the promoter of free commerce, freedom of movement of people and products. It will be most difficult for Europe to build up a meaningful opposition to China’s success.

What is the story behind it? What are the reasons for China’s swift rise? There are many, but one major item is their proficiency in building infrastructure around the world, while the US is occupied in keeping up its very expensive military bases globally.

Regarding surveillance, it is part of the progressive global communications technology, which has no precedence in human history. Communication in olden times had been strictly limited to word of mouth or writings. Later, telephone and radio communication expanded this field drastically. But now 5G has developed as the cream of the crop, with communist China leading the field.

Where will this all lead? World unity with one form of government, one form of religion, and one leader—Antichrist.

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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