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Enter the dragon: Is China looking to colonize Kenya and rest of the East Africa?

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By Nitin Kesar

The way Chinese people are making inroads into Kenya, has a striking resemblance to how British paved their way into India during early 17 century.

With a promise of investing $5 billion in Kenya’s infrastructure, China has done exactly the same thing what East India company did then with India- show a false promise of prosperity and growth.

One of the reasons why China is so interested in Kenya is for its need of oil. As the dragon nation is set to become the world’s largest oil importer, the new oil discoveries in Kenya serve its purpose well.

It is estimated that the Kenya will be the first oil exporter in East Africa by 2016 — with deposits topping 10 billion barrels, or three times more than the United Kingdom’s remaining oil reserves.

Again, it is just like the way Britishers exploited Indian farmers for opium, cotton and spices.

The signs of this modern day colonization showed its horrific side on March 26 when a Chinese restaurant in Kenyan capital of Nairobi was shut down after it emerged that it was barring dark-skinned locals from entering its premises.

The case came into limelight after furious residents took to social media to denounce an apparently racist policy of not allowing African patrons to eat there after 5pm.

This is exactly what happened in India after Anglophone masters took control of the sub-continent and debarred the natives from entering restaurants. In fact, this was the time when Britishers used to put a board outside their so-called English eating joints which read- Dogs and Indians are not allowed.

Though Chinese investment at this moment seems like a good relief for Kenyans, it is going to have a great impact on the African nations sovereignty and autonomy.

A report conducted by Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT ), Nairobi, Kenya also suggested that the FDI from China can have adverse effects on employment, income distribution, and national sovereignty and autonomy.

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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)