End 2018 with news from your favourite Orwellian-dystopia-in-the-making: China

Facial scanning, technologically advanced uniforms, children – these are all elements of classic dystopian sci-fi story-telling, and also a part of everyday life for learners at over 10 schools in the Guizhou Province and Guangxi region of China. Just keep smiling. This isn’t terrifying at all. Nope.

The Epoch Times recently reported that children in these areas, some of the poorest in the region, are now required to wear “intelligent uniforms” that track their every movement. Because who doesn’t love an all-seeing surveillance state using its children in the first wave of implementation tests that will, no doubt, be rolled out to the rest of its citizens in the near future? But I digress.

The uniforms are said to be embedded with two microchips that allow parents, teachers, and school officials to track the child’s location and the exact times they enter or leave the school. Alarms are triggered if the child falls asleep in class, if they skip school without permission, or if they try to game the system by swapping uniforms with a friend. Facial recognition equipment scans their faces when they get to school, see, matching it with the unique code in their uniform. Better luck next time, little Zhang Wei.

They’re also pretty darn hardy, able to withstand 150 degrees Celsius and 500 wash cycles. On the plus side, the kids don’t need to bring money for the tuckshop anymore; the uniforms can be scanned to make cash-free payments. Hooray! Living in an Orwellian surveillance state is convenient! Happy New Year!

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