Thursday October 18, 2018
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China to accelerate militarising new islands in South China Sea

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Beijing: China will “accelerate militarizing its newly built islands”, warned a state-run daily after a US bomber flew close to it in the South China Sea.

The Pentagon said that an American B-52 bomber “unintentionally” flew over the South China Sea within two nautical miles of an artificial island built by China. Chinese authorities described the move as “provocation”.

An editorial “US actions prompt islands militarization” in the Global Times said on Monday that the US military has adopted a mild tone this time, but “its action is aggressive”.

“The moves of the US will undoubtedly propel China to accelerate militarizing its newly built islands and make them capable of coping with direct military threat from the US.

“As the Chinese mainland is far from this area and China only has one aircraft carrier, it would be too late for China to send fighter jets from the mainland when US jets intrude into the airspace of the islands. The only choice is to deploy the fighter jets on these islands,” the daily said.

“Communist country stressed that these islands serve a peaceful purpose, but the premise of such assertion is that no external military force threatens their security. The US military is undermining this premise, and China should carry out corresponding security deployment.”

It observed that nowadays US warplanes and bombers fly over nearby waters and airspace at will.

“If China does not take due measures, it can be implied that it tacitly approves such hostile actions. This, in turn, will jeopardize the country’s South China Sea strategy. It, therefore, has no other options, but to build up its military capability on those islands. In that case, next time when the US warplanes come over again, there will be Chinese military planes taking off and safeguarding our sovereignty.”

The daily went on to say that there is worry that militarization of the islands will bring more pressure on China from the international community and some Southeast Asian countries will especially be unhappy about it.

“But it is the US military provocations that are propelling China to do so. Chinese countermeasures will be morally correct. They may further complicate the situation in the South China Sea, but will not tarnish China’s international image.”

The editorial noted that if all parties wish for the peaceful South China Sea, they should fulfill their responsibilities rather than providing assistance to the US which intends to intrude China’s island demilitarization.

“The island militarization doesn’t mean a significant rising potential for military clashes. Neither Beijing nor Washington wants a war,” it said, adding: “The US’ exercise of freedom of navigation in the South China Sea should not threaten the security of Chinese facilities. In view of China’s overall military capability and national strength, the US should renounce its arrogance.”(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)