The right wing socialists at Swarajya Magazine are now concerned about the Chinese investing in India. Here’s the piece : Chinese Investments In HDFC May Not Pose A Threat But Other Significant Stakes In India’s Unicorns Do
The Chinese Government is the Scum of the Earth
This would be a good time to ask why Swarajya’s Supreme Leader is still going along with a China-style social credit system in the name of Aadhar, or why China hawks like Bharat Karnad, who we publish regularly, are being ignored by this government.
Breaking down the Swarajya Piece
Indian citizens, for the first time, woke up to the grim reality of growing Chinese investments in the country. Media reports surfaced about the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) raising its stake in one of the largest private banks in India, HDFC, from 0.8 per cent to more than 1 per cent.
“Grim reality” ? HDFC is a private bank. If it fails (and you don’t try to bail it out like you did with Yes Bank and others), the Chinese will be left “holding the bag”.
If you don’t approve of the PBoC investment then stop dealing with HDFC. Take your funds elsewhere.
Much of the apprehension stems from the debt-traps that China has become infamous for under their Belt and Road initiative.
Those Chinese debt-traps are the result of GOVERNMENTS, not private parties, taking on that debt. Of course, ideally, Governments shouldn’t be taking any debt, because it is form of taxation of future generations without representation by these generations.
The misplaced fear is best directed towards China’s increasing investments in the technology sector in India, for they could be now in a position to cause much more damage by the data they have access to than a mere 1 per cent stake in a private bank.
China’s love for Indian startups can be gauged by the increased investments (…)
First, there is no public knowledge about how the data, generated by citizens accessing these apps daily, is used. For instance, data from multiple apps, sourced from a single phone number or unique device ID, could be used for profiling.
We understand the fear. The question is – who is better placed to evaluate this risk ?
Has the government done anything yet to prevent profiling ? Why is the government instead doubling down on its own profiling operations with projects like the UIDAI ?
Would it be simpler if individual citizens woke up to this problem themselves and started being more careful about what services they use ? If individuals don’t get it or choose to assume the risks of profiling, does the government need to intervene ?
Finally, would you rather have the Chinese “holding the bag” when these startups fail, or would you rather starve the startups of investments by centrally planning and restricting their access to funds, finally leaving Indians “holding the bag” on the failures ?
Two, using this data, the Chinese could gain a head start when it comes to designing 5G solutions. Given how integral data would be to 5G and other IoT solutions, the non-personal datasets from these apps will give Tencent and Alibaba a significant advantage over the local IT giants.
For the sake of this argument, we won’t deal with the health risks of 5G, which is a larger topic.
Is it China’s fault that your “local IT giants” have been sleeping over 5G ? Would you rather have no 5G solutions, or would you rather that somebody, even if they be Chinese, do give you the 5G data solutions ?
Are you going to intervene to artificially prop up our “local IT giants” until they get their act together on this ? Who would be the looser if you do (hint : it’s the rest of the economy that does not get these services, or gets them at a higher cost).
Lastly, there is the danger of agenda-setting through Chinese apps. As seen with TikTok, the apps can be used to polarise citizens, circulate anti-India rhetoric, and cause an internal security issue by means of hacking, data breaches, or misinformation campaigns.
The agenda-setting has been happening on every privately owned platform, and there is reason to believe that Swarajya itself has been the victim of the agenda-setting going on with Twitter and Facebook.
Our position on this is clear. Here’s the article RW Twitter : Avoid the slippery slope of social media regulation .
India, meanwhile, has not done much for capacity building and only recently the government realised the importance of an indigenous video conferencing solution. The push for data localisation has not been strong as well.
Understood. Please, for God sake, don’t bring the government in this. You’ll get the video conferencing equivalent of Prasar Bharti. Let private parties do what they have to, and let them sell the “Data stays in India” line to get more customers, which so many of your readers will appreciate and go for.
The Bottom Line
We don’t generally bother to comment on these publications, guess it’s just the Corona blues.
Here’s the crux of our message to Swarajya and the other right-wing soft socialists : Promote the idea of growing up and taking responsibility for yourself, your possessions and your data.
The government is a very bad nanny who will sell you down the river if you let it intervene. You might disagree on this now, but you will be the first to say this when the other party comes to power.