New words for "quarantine" in the PRC: "silence" and "time-space companion"

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From a PRC M.A. candidate:

Nowadays China has some new words for quarantine: “jìngmò 静默” ("silence") and "shíkōng bànsuí zhě时空伴随者” which means that the phone number of the person and the confirmed number stay in the same time-space grid (800m X 800m) for more than 10 minutes, and the cumulative length of stay of the number of either party exceeds 30 hours in the last 14 days. The detected number is the time-space accompanying number.

I'm not exactly sure how this works out in practice, but one thing is clear:  the PRC government wants to keep track of where each of its citizens is every minute of every day.  It's a sort of time-space continuum.  They also don't want the people to be moving around much.  They want them to stay put.

This reminds me of the emphasis on keeping track of the movements of citizens during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States during early 2020, which initially was called "shelter-in-place":

When the term shelter-in-place order was used by the authorities in the United States in responding to the outbreaks of Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in 2020, people were not familiar with it as the term had been used in other emergency situations such as an active shooter which would require seeking a safe place to hide within the same building that the person already occupies until the situation is resolved. This caused confusion to the residents under the order on exactly what they were supposed to do. Later, the State of California used the term stay-at-home order instead. Other US states started using the new term when they announced their statewide order. Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York criticized anyone using the term shelter in place for his stay-at-home order as it would invoke panic due to its association with active shooting situations or nuclear wars.


AKA "lockdown" (which my spellcheckers always mark as incorrect).

Many of my students and colleagues who have, for one reason or another, gotten stuck in China during the last two years have found it increasingly difficult to get out because of quarantine, testing, and other regulations.  For similar reasons, it is also becoming harder and harder to get into China.

From the founding of the People's Republic of China until Nixon went there in 1972, China was secluded behind a "Bamboo Curtain" (cf."Iron Curtain" at the other end of Eurasia).  Now, I wonder if China is once again slowly closing itself off from the rest of the world, this time behind the double barrier of the Great Firewall and an impermeable COVID Curtain.


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1 Comment

  1. KeithB said,

    October 10, 2022 @ 7:38 am

    I did some work on the Chinese positioning system a few decades ago. Unlike GPS which lets you figure out your own position from timing data from the satellites, the Chinese system gets a transmission back from you, and then tells you where you are.

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