China’s investment in data collection has increased in recent years, with its tentacles extending around the globe. There have been concerns about the news that China will cooperate with the United Nations to establish a data center.
Xi Jinping, the head of Chinese Communist Party, said at the general debate of the 75th session of the UN General Assembly, “China will set up a UN Global Geospatial Knowledge and Innovation Center and an International Research Center of Big Data for Sustainable Development Goals to facilitate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”
According to the Chinese government website and state media, as early as April last year, the Ministry of Natural Resources signed a memorandum of intent with the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs in Beijing to initiate preparations for the establishment of a United Nations Global Geospatial Knowledge and Innovation Centre in Deqing, Zhejiang. The work aims to share global geospatial data and promote exchanges and cooperation among UN member states in the field of geographic information. In addition, the National Bureau of Statistics of China and the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs will jointly establish the big data research institute which will also be located in Hangzhou, less than an hour away from Deqing.
Ms. Rosett, an adjunct fellow with the Hudson Institute, wrote a Wall Street Journal opinion article in which she stated, “Mr. Xi’s promised U.N.-China geospatial and big-data complex would allow for detailed mapping of everything from topography and infrastructure to human behavior, across time and around the globe. China under its own steam is already collecting and in some cases pilfering troves of data world-wide. However, the U.N. badge of legitimacy would make it easier for Beijing to secure flows of data from member states, influence U.N. standards and norms for such data collection, shape the results, feed them into the U.N. system—and project the Chinese Communist Party’s techno-tyranny around the world.”
Source: Radio Free Asia, October 14, 2020