‘I don’t mind if the government can see where I’ve been’

It’s been around 6 weeks since I wrote my previous column. I received quite a few responses to that by the way. I should point out that I wasn’t trying to glorify China or ridicule the Netherlands. Absolutely not. And I’m certainly not a pessimist or a scaremonger. I haven’t been watching too much Chinese state television, and I didn’t join a group of Uighurs in a re-education camp, like some reactions suggested.

I just feel it’s important to look at things in an objective way and believe what you see. If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck. That also applies to the coronavirus. It spread so fast in China last February that strict measures were the only solution. Luckily, the Netherlands has realised it too by now. That’s my country; decisive when it’s needed! Just like when they trumped France with their KLM shares and like when our special forces jumped into action to stop the Ukrainian rebels from interfering with our MH17 deaths in their countryside. Action!

I read in the newspapers that the Netherlands is even going to have an app to notify people when they’ve been close to an infected person. Tracking and tracing after all! Even if it goes completely against people’s feelings about privacy, it must be done. It has proven to be very effective. There’s some grumbling here and there, but nobody seems to feel too strongly about it.

We’ve got something similar here. It works with a QR code that needs to be scanned at shops, public transport, compounds etc. Privacy is not considered very important in China anyway. That’s a well-known fact. Nobody really cares about being followed. People do as the government says.

Personally, I value my privacy, but I don’t have anything to hide. So, I don’t mind if the government can see where I’ve been. If that’s what keeps me away from people who are infected, that’s fine with me. People in the Netherlands are obeying too, so you don’t need a totalitarian regime to get the population to listen to you. This virus is causing so much harm, you’d be crazy not to follow the government’s advice. Anyone who sees what’s happening in the world will understand that something needs to be done. As a result, people obey the experts. And that’s the only way we’re going to beat this crisis!

Cok Harteveld,

General manager Van den Berg Roses China

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