I recently came across an article that sent Orwellian chills down my spine. In it, Sunday Guardian Live reported that China’s Social Credit System — which tracks citizens so that they can be either rewarded, or punished with the potential withholding of basic rights to things like travel, accessing bank funds and obtaining employment — has been adopted by the Haidilao Hot Pot restaurant in Vancouver, B.C.
According to the report, the restaurant has two cameras pointed at each dining table, and when the manager, Ryan Pan, was asked about them, he said they were to “punish” staff that didn’t adhere to corporate standards. Pan also reportedly said that the footage recorded by the cameras gets sent back to China!
After reading this report, I was suddenly hungry for some hot pot, and some answers. Despite indoor dining being currently banned in B.C. due to COVID-19, I was able to get into the restaurant to have a look while awaiting my hot pot take out.
I also spoke with the manager, who was rather friendly, and who claimed that the statements made in the article are false. He claims the cameras are only there for safety purposes, that they were approved by the City of Vancouver, and that no information gets sent back to China from them.
Click here to watch the full report.
It appears there may be more to the story here, which is why I reached out to one of the journalists who wrote the original article. I also gave my contact info to the restaurant manager so he could have someone from corporate to contact me to give a statement. I did not hear back from either of them.
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