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This article uses the case of the Henan health code scandal and Chinese netizens’ response to it to illustrate the local politics in the age of automated decision-making systems in China. It examines how a local stability maintenance endeavour has become a sign of the misuse and abuse of power and technology by an authoritarian Party-state and its ruling elites to safeguard their own interests and power. The performative disciplining of local culprits by the central government demonstrates not only the tension between local and central authorities but also the pitfalls of big-data-driven digital governance and social control systems when such systems are arbitrary and lack provision for human rights protection. Chinese netizens’ response to the scandal demonstrates the possibilities and limits of networked communicative mobility.
- Henan health code
- automated decision-making (ADM)
- local politics
- social media
- stability maintenance
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- 2 Active
01/01/2021 → 23/12/2025
MDMP: Moving Data-Moving People: Mapping China's Social Credit System and its Impact on China's Mobile Population
01/07/2020 → 01/03/2026