China’s health scores for citizens won’t go away when coronavirus does

A government app that used digital bar codes to control citizen movements at the peak of the coronavirus outbreak in China is likely to become a fixture in people’s daily lives.

Hangzhou, a southern Chinese city home to tech giants like Alibaba, said on Saturday (May 23, link in Chinese) that it plans to “normalize” the use of the app, which was rolled out in February,  and turn it into a “‘firewall’ to enhance people’s health and immunity” after the pandemic recedes.

Developed with the help of Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial and social media giant Tencent, and soon made mandatory, the feature was added to Alipay, Ant’s digital payment wallet, as well as Tencent’s messaging app WeChat. It assigned people one of three codes—red, yellow, and green—based on travel history and other information, such as their own test status and contact with any confirmed cases of Covid-19, that users submit.

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