In a bid to further place people under surveillance on a global scale, China is urging the World Health Organization to let it create and run a global vaccine passport system that will serve as a "certificate for international travel," amid other purposes.
On Monday, China launched its own health code for travelers, and the communist state is looking to gain WHO's support in creating a similar system on an international scale. The goal of the certificate was "to help promote world economic recovery and facilitate cross-border travel," a foreign ministry spokesperson for China told Aljazeera.
China claimed that they can "help by sharing its experience with and provide technical support" to WHO in creating a global vaccine passport, because the communist state is "the most experienced country in using a health code system in the world."
Information Consumption Alliance Director General Xiang Ligang told state-run outlet Global Times, "In terms of technology, I believe that Chinese companies can build an international platform in just one week, but it is better that the WHO, rather than any country or regional organization, be the organizer to ensure the independence, fairness and data security of the platform."
WHO is rightfully hesitant to support such an endeavor from China, where the coronavirus first broke out in December 2019 and went on to cause a global pandemic that took millions of lives. According to Breitbart, WHO is urging countries not to implement similar systems for the primary reason that different countries have different access to an array of vaccines.
China's current vaccine passport system will serve as a digital certification that certifies that a person has been inoculated with a COVID-19 vaccine and is part of the Chinese "social credit system," in which citizens are judged and awarded numerical "scores" that serves as the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) approval rating of the person. These scores are obtained by judging a citizen's behavior, which result in lower or higher social credit scores to show if a citizen is truly a supporter of or opposed to the CCP.
It is through this social credit system that some Chinese citizens are banned from traveling internationally, as their scores will tell if they are capable of purchasing plane, train, or public transportation tickets. Through their local vaccine passport system, China is also controlling citizens who have not received a COVID-19 vaccine from traveling locally or internationally.
As China urges WHO to allow them to create a global vaccine passport system, the organization's Health Emergencies Program director Dr. Michael Ryan has expressed his disagreement on the proposed project.
He warned that such a global vaccine passport system has "real practical and ethical considerations" and that countries must not consider this type of citizen surveillance at the moment. Ryan argued, "Vaccination is just not available enough around the world and is not available certainly on an equitable basis."
In China, concerns over their own vaccine passport system has grown, as it sparked privacy concerns and fears of expansion of government surveillance. The communist state's "social credit system" has already branded 13.5 million citizens as "untrustworthy" and has prevented 20.5 million citizens from purchasing plane tickets and 5.7 million from traveling through high-speed trains.