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China

Everyone's A Suspect: How China Keeps Tabs On 1.4 Billion People

With facial recognition cameras and Big Data, the Chinese leadership is pushing its penchant for surveillance to new heights.

The computer room at e-commerce giant Alibaba's data center
The computer room at e-commerce giant Alibaba's data center
Frédéric Schaeffer

BEIJING — He'd been waiting months for this moment. With his wife and friends, Mr. Ao was finally going to be able to see his idol on stage. It was the first Saturday of April and legendary singer Jacky Cheung was about to play at the Nanchang Stadium. Some 60,000 people were gathered to see one of what the media call the four "gods' of "cantopop," a music genre that is incredibly popular in southeast China.

But Mr. Ao, 31, only had enough time to hear the opening notes when two policemen seized him right in the middle of the crowd. He was already known to the authorities for an "economic crime," and during security checks at the stadium entrance he was spotted by cameras equipped with facial recognition technology.

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Geopolitics

NATO Entry For Sweden And Finland? Erdogan May Not Be Bluffing

When the two Nordic countries confirmed their intention to join NATO this week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan repeated his plans to block the application. Accusing Sweden and Finland of' "harboring" some of his worst enemies may not allow room for him to climb down.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared opposition to Finland and Sweden entering NATO

Meike Eijsberg

-Analysis-

LONDON — When Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared his opposition to Finland and Sweden entering NATO, it took most of the West's top diplomatic experts by surprise — with the focus squarely on how Russia would react to having two new NATO members in the neighborhood. (So far, that's been a surprise too)

But now Western oversight on Turkey's stance has morphed into a belief in some quarters that Erdogan is just bluffing, trying to get concessions from the negotiations over such a key geopolitical issue.

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To be clear, any prospective NATO member requires the consent of all 30 member states and their parliaments. So Erdogan does indeed have a card to play, which is amplified by the sense of urgency: NATO, Sweden and Finland are keen to complete the accession process with the war in Ukraine raging and the prospect of strengthening the military alliance's position around the Baltic Sea.

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