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China daily praises PM Narendra Modi’s social media diplomacy

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Beijing: A leading English daily of China on Monday lauded Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s diplomatic initiatives via social media, saying that it will “play a constructive role in the relationship between India and China”.

“When Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on his 60th birthday on his Sina Weibo account on Wednesday (July 1), he once again showed the high value he attaches to diplomacy through social media accounts,” the Global Times stated in an opinion piece headlined “Modi’s social-media diplomacy can help build Sino-Indian understanding”.

The article is based on an interview with Zhao Gancheng, director of South Asia Studies at the Shanghai Institute for International Studies.

Noting that Modi’s account in Sina Weibao, the Chinese version of Twitter, has tens of thousands of followers, it stated: “Yet this is not a special move, for he did the similar things for the US, Russia and Japan, through which he has delivered a message to the world that India is more open, and is keeping up to date with the latest trends.”

According to Zhao, despite India being the largest democracy in the world, there is an impression that it is a “rather conservative nation” and negative news about the country emerge from time to time.

“Therefore, Modi is trying to provide a new perspective on India to the international community through his public diplomacy. Communicating to people abroad is one part of this,” the article stated.

“Such public diplomacy will also play a constructive role in the relationship between India and China.”

According to the South Asian affairs expert, although there are currently no huge irritants affecting bilateral ties, there has been no major progress either in recent years.

“Besides, while certain difficult issues remain unsettled, it is still an open question as to when the two countries will completely settle on the track of healthy cooperation, especially with the backdrop of border disputes,” the article stated.

According to Zhao, the people of the two countries do not see each other as friends.

“Some Indians consider China to be their biggest threat, while some Chinese also view India negatively,” the opinion piece stated.

“In this case, Modi’s Weibo account and his interactions with Chinese people can have a positive effect on bilateral relations.”

Zhao opined that through Modi’s kind of public diplomacy, “people from each side can raise their understanding of one another, which will, in turn, play a significant role in enhancing Sino-Indian ties”.

“Of course, thorny issues need to be resolved through negotiations by leaders from both countries. Nevertheless, it can be assumed that if more Chinese look favourably on India, a relaxed atmosphere for smooth and healthy bilateral relations will be created,” the Global Times article concluded.

(IANS)

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Shanghai Airport Gets Check-In With Facial Recognition Machines

Increased convenience may come at a cost in a country with few rules on how the government can use biometric data.

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Shanghai,
A U.S. Customs and Border Protection facial recognition device is ready to scan another passenger at a United Airlines gate. VOA

It’s now possible to check in automatically at Shanghai Hongqiao airport using facial recognition technology, part of an ambitious rollout of facial recognition systems in China that has raised privacy concerns as Beijing pushes to become a global leader in the field.

Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport unveiled self-service kiosks for flight and baggage check-in, security clearance and boarding powered by facial recognition technology, according to the Civil Aviation Administration of China.

Similar efforts are under way at airports in Beijing and Nanyang city, in central China’s Henan province.

Shanghai,
Face recognition tool was first launched in 2012

Many airports in China already use facial recognition to help speed security checks, but Shanghai’s system, which debuted Monday, is being billed as the first to be fully automated.

“It is the first time in China to achieve self-service for the whole check-in process,” said Zhang Zheng, general manager of the ground services department for Spring Airlines, the first airline to adopt the system at Hongqiao airport. Currently, only Chinese identity card holders can use the technology.

Spring Airlines, Shanghai said Tuesday that passengers had embraced automated check-in, with 87 percent of 5,017 people who took Spring flights on Monday using the self-service kiosks, which can cut down check-in times to less than a minute and a half.

Shanghai,
Rana el Kaliouby, CEO of the Boston-based artificial intelligence firm Affectiva, demonstrates the company’s facial recognition technology, in Boston, April 23, 2018. VOA

Across greater China, facial recognition is finding its way into daily life. Mainland police have used facial recognition systems to identify people of interest in crowds and nab jaywalkers, and are working to develop an integrated national system of surveillance camera data.

Chinese media are filled with reports of ever-expanding applications: A KFC outlet in Hangzhou, near Shanghai, where it’s possible to pay using facial recognition technology; a school that uses facial recognition cameras to monitor students’ reactions in class; and hundreds of ATMs in Macau equipped with facial recognition devices to curb money laundering.

Also Read: Facial Recognition Technology Catches A Person With Fake Passpost At The US Airport 

But increased convenience may come at a cost in a country with few rules on how the government can use biometric data.

“Authorities are using biometric and artificial intelligence to record and track people for social control purposes,” said Maya Wang, senior China researcher for Human Rights Watch. “We are concerned about the increasing integration and use of facial recognition technologies throughout the country because it provides more and more data points for the authorities to track people.” (VOA)