I’m in a back road in rural Zambia. As you can see, there’s basically nothing around here. Even so my phone has pretty good internet service here. Today, even the most remote parts of
Zambia have gone digital. To see that firsthand, we traveled a thousand
kilometers from the capital, Lusaka. In a car, on a plane, on another plane. And a boat, across a lake, and through a swamp,
to an isolated island. And it’s as connected to the
digital world as any other part of Africa. – Before, you needed to physically send messages to people you know by boat or by canoe. This is Kunda Mwila. He grew up on this island and has worked in the telecoms industry for decades. But now, with the 3G, we are able to just make a call on your mobile. Cell service, wifi, cable TV, satellite dishes. All of this has something in common: China. Private Chinese companies build the infrastructure, funded with loans from the Chinese government. Around the world, Chinese-built networks are connecting places to the digital economy for the first time. But China is also giving governments unprecedented power to control the information on those networks. For young democracies like Zambia,
that can be a blessing or a curse. We’re traveling around the world to find
out how China is changing basically everything. This week, the internet. I’m Nikhil Sonnad, reporting for Quartz. You’re watching Because China. China’s presence here is all part of its
plan to create what it calls a “digital silk road.” The goal is to build markets for its digital services and products in developing countries. A recent study of Chinese tech companies identified dozens of telecom projects like 4G networks, underway in Africa. China is also helping to build 20 smart cities across the continent, including in Zambia, which aim to digitize public services
and collect data on citizens. And there are plenty more in other parts of the world. These projects can make a huge difference in the lives of everyday people. But there’s another, more fundamental goal at work: China wants to reshape the way we think about the internet, around the idea of “digital sovereignty.” This says that every nation should decide
what kind of internet it wants. That’s different from the original conception, that every country would connect to one free and open internet. What’s unique about the Chinese model is that it puts the power to make these decisions fully in the hands of the local government. Not private companies, not civil groups, not individuals. For African governments that want to improve their infrastructure, this makes China a welcome alternative to its Western competitors: less
judgmental and more flexible. – I think unconsciously even,
the West are very patronizing. You know, they know better, they know best, and then they won’t give you this unless you look like them or sound like them or do things like them. Mulenga Kapwepwe is chair of the board for
Zambia’s public broadcaster, ZNBC, which received a Chinese loan for a major infrastructure project, the digitization of TV service nationwide. – So that for me, I think, is one of the attractive things that the Chinese also do come with. Asking you what you want and how you want it. China went further than just making
digital TV work. The loan allowed ZNBC to build these slick new studios. And a Chinese company is building its new nerve center to centralize data from bureaus around the country. But the deal has been controversial. It further strengthens ZNBC– which is state-owned and pushes a pro-government line– in a country where independent
reporting is already difficult. And this is how China usually works with other countries. It deals directly with governments, and only with governments, says Iginio Gagliardone, who studies the politics of technology in Africa. – The state, independently from its democratic or authoritarian credential, is the one that gets empowered. China doesn’t care what kind of government it helps, whether it’s through cheap loans, technical assistance, or brand-new digs for a public broadcaster. – This can have good and bad
outcomes. It can lead to schools and hospitals
being better connected. And when it comes to states and governments where checks and balances from other sources of power are not as effective, this could exaggerate authoritarian tendencies that already exist. A sovereign internet gives the Zambian government a powerful tool to control and manage information. In the battle between citizens and the state, it strengthens the hand of the state, putting extra stress on the country’s democracy. – China has consistently supported states in expanding their version of the internet. No matter how democratic or authoritarian the state is. And Zambia has been moving decidedly
in the direction of authoritarianism. Since 2014, its ranking in the
democracy index has slipped. Its internet is only considered “partly free.” In 2017, the government arrested the opposition party’s leader and charged him with treason. In 2016, the government made an
especially aggressive move: it shut down The Post, an independent newspaper known for its investigative reporting. Joan Chirwa, a journalist and founder of Zambia’s Free Press Initiative, was managing editor at the time. – So what happened with The Post in 2016? – We were getting ready for the next day’s edition, and the next thing we saw was some
armed policemen in some vehicles. There wasn’t any chance for
any talking or negotiation. They straight just went and told
everybody to leave the offices. Some people were crying, others were screaming and just not knowing what to do. Because you don’t know whether
you’ll be back in the morning. The government’s official reason for
closing the paper was unpaid taxes, but people here agree that it was its role as a challenger to state power that got it closed for good. In addition to having her publication shut down,
Joan is currently on trial for trumped-up charges of
“defamation of the president.” That authoritarian logic is extending
to social media, too: a teacher who insulted the president on Facebook was sentenced to two years in jail. These kinds of things make Joan uneasy about China’s role in shaping Zambia’s internet. – So those in the online space are the only ones left to sort of do some of the things that traditional media was previously doing. Joan and others worry that the government might
shut down such websites, or the whole internet altogether, during the next presidential election, in 2021. The Smart Zambia project, built with help from Huawei, could be used simply to improve public services, or it could start to look like the massive surveillance apparatus of the “smart cities” in western China. – There’s been some equipment which has been procured by government from China for the effort of controlling the flow of information. So the fear is genuine. – How would you diagnose the
health of Zambia’s democracy? It’s… ailing. I think we were almost there. But we got to a stage where our claim to be a democracy is being questioned in many places. China’s massive role in setting up Zambia’s internet infrastructure doesn’t have to be good or bad. Ultimately, it’ll come down to how the local government decides to wield its newfound power, and whether Zambians are able to hold them accountable.

What happens when China builds your country’s internet?
Tagged on:                                                         

100 thoughts on “What happens when China builds your country’s internet?

  • November 15, 2019 at 9:19 pm
    Permalink

    LOL the so called freedom in the West also govt control the masses. Those did not follow the direction will be forced out.

    Reply
  • November 15, 2019 at 10:43 pm
    Permalink

    Quartz is fake

    Reply
  • November 15, 2019 at 10:54 pm
    Permalink

    All this anti China bullcrap is getting pathetic.

    Reply
  • November 15, 2019 at 11:04 pm
    Permalink

    So Chinese telecoms are complying with local government laws regarding surveillance and cybersecurity? Isn't that a good thing?

    I love how when American government regulate its internet, it's all good, but when Chinese companies give the power to local government to regulate their internet, it's all the sudden a bad thing.

    Reply
  • November 16, 2019 at 12:33 am
    Permalink

    Damn Zambia look like it would be a great holiday destination.

    Reply
  • November 16, 2019 at 2:36 am
    Permalink

    I recall a bunch of farmers and rancher built homes and cities in parts of Africa ,then Africa took it away after it was prosperous,and gave to people who never put any work into it and it all fell to ruin and the people starved.

    Reply
  • November 16, 2019 at 3:05 am
    Permalink

    How China work with other countries:
    Deal with the government, and work with the government

    How the US work with the other countries :
    Deal with the people, and overthrow the government
    😂😂😂😂😂

    Plz forgive my silliness, I through government is supposed to be a representative to its own people. If we need to deal with the people directly but not through the government, what's the propose to have a government? Establishing a government to overthrow it? LOL
    Where's the logic behind it

    Reply
  • November 16, 2019 at 7:56 am
    Permalink

    r/sino was right, this anti-china bullshit is getting tired

    Reply
  • November 16, 2019 at 11:24 am
    Permalink

    Because private companies won't exert authoritarianism right?

    Reply
  • November 16, 2019 at 12:46 pm
    Permalink

    Africa is waking up because of China, the waste always hide it

    Reply
  • November 16, 2019 at 12:52 pm
    Permalink

    China is building other countries' internet infrastructure without telling them how to run their country and America thinks that's a problem.

    Reply
  • November 16, 2019 at 1:30 pm
    Permalink

    You can not find a Chinese company who doing communication business. Huawei is only the manufacturer of the machine. It is really ridiculous.

    Reply
  • November 16, 2019 at 1:43 pm
    Permalink

    The top 2 biggest company are Vodafone and MTN in all Africa country. And they all backed by EU or USA. And they also drived by Huawei and ZET. I believe they never heard Airtel and did not do any investigation on Airtel. They even never think indian can have a communication company. such ashame.

    Reply
  • November 16, 2019 at 2:07 pm
    Permalink

    China is BUILDING while AmeriKKKa (Empire of chaos) is destroying…

    Reply
  • November 16, 2019 at 2:42 pm
    Permalink

    At any rate China is driving progress while countries like Germany have been cementing the past.

    Reply
  • November 16, 2019 at 3:02 pm
    Permalink

    She didn't say anything about China.. It's your word

    Reply
  • November 16, 2019 at 3:26 pm
    Permalink

    These Western media think that everyone in the world is as stupid as their voters. They are not your voters. They see what the West has done, not what they have said. Just saying that not doing things is bragging

    Reply
  • November 16, 2019 at 3:47 pm
    Permalink

    Chinese Commenters: "wHaT hApPenS whEN UsA BuIlDs yOuR iNtErNet"

    You can actually voice your opinion freely and speak out against government. Can you do this with anything Chinese :)?

    Reply
  • November 16, 2019 at 11:18 pm
    Permalink

    Free Taiwan from Western confusion!

    Reply
  • November 17, 2019 at 12:56 am
    Permalink

    There is no battle between citizen and state. When there is you have riots and dead politicians, regardless of what level of control they previously had. What we have now is Coffee Shop Revolutionaries trying to amuse themselves.

    Reply
  • November 17, 2019 at 1:07 am
    Permalink

    What happens when China builds your internet? What happens when Chinese citizens talk about the Tiananmen Square massacre?

    Reply
  • November 17, 2019 at 2:05 am
    Permalink

    Quartz is a joke at this point

    Reply
  • November 17, 2019 at 5:02 am
    Permalink

    China doesn't care what countries they help though cheap loans… hummm why does that sound so familiar… oh yeah we could just replace china with the IMF and World Bank which doesn't give any fucks weather they fund a democracy, pupet goverment or a streight up patronizing dictatorship as long as they suscribe to their idiotic neoliberal doctrine which got them there in the first place… not to say that this isn't 21st century colonialism but at the very least chinese loans translate into development not ethernal financial domination

    Reply
  • November 17, 2019 at 6:48 am
    Permalink

    Dont let the ccp fool you, they are there to suck all of your resources, i dont trust the ccp, we viet know.

    Reply
  • November 17, 2019 at 9:17 am
    Permalink

    Q:What if China builds your country's internet ?
    A:My game won't failed to connect the internet.

    Reply
  • November 17, 2019 at 12:17 pm
    Permalink

    How come it is China's fault?

    Reply
  • November 17, 2019 at 1:16 pm
    Permalink

    This document have to do some Homework. What is Chinese and Indian company

    Reply
  • November 17, 2019 at 4:25 pm
    Permalink

    I'm watching "Because China" because of China 😊

    Reply
  • November 17, 2019 at 4:46 pm
    Permalink

    is it normal to build a new chinese internet telecommunication thingy inside a military headquarters?
    why dontya ask the philippines?

    Reply
  • November 17, 2019 at 5:38 pm
    Permalink

    Ultimately it depends on the government not being fascist. If so, burn them all, guys

    Reply
  • November 17, 2019 at 7:58 pm
    Permalink

    Who gives a shit,we are not the police like the US.

    Reply
  • November 17, 2019 at 10:50 pm
    Permalink

    China is all about business. How can u blame China for what happens inside Zambia government.

    Reply
  • November 17, 2019 at 11:09 pm
    Permalink

    Question: What happens when China is on the brink of surpassing America to become the world's No. 1 superpower?

    Answer: You get biased Western media scare stories like this piece of trash

    Reply
  • November 18, 2019 at 2:36 am
    Permalink

    China: Why are you talking about security NOW
    US: Because I checked what you discussed stupidddd

    Reply
  • November 18, 2019 at 9:23 am
    Permalink

    If you have the American version of internet, all your data will be stored somewhere controlled by the FBI, NSA, CIA etc..

    Reply
  • November 18, 2019 at 12:12 pm
    Permalink

    It already builds ur phone

    Reply
  • November 18, 2019 at 2:03 pm
    Permalink

    main point of the video "china does deals with the government -> government digital sovereignty -> more authoritarianism -> harms democracy"
    alright? are you trying to say only democratic states are allowed internet but authoritarian states dont?

    Reply
  • November 18, 2019 at 2:36 pm
    Permalink

    What if majority of citizens like dictator, like Rwanda. You want CIA help to change regime to bring back to shit hole? They say they want to be another Singapore. also a dictator country.

    Reply
  • November 18, 2019 at 3:13 pm
    Permalink

    Q: What happens when China builds your country's internet?
    A: You just get INTERNET and not a mixture of Chaos, fascist coups, bombing, wars, deaths and massacres all put in a package labelled FREEDOM.

    Reply
  • November 18, 2019 at 5:08 pm
    Permalink

    total spy ! A GOVERMENT WET DREAM

    Reply
  • November 18, 2019 at 7:24 pm
    Permalink

    Zambia has a room temp IQ population add to that CCP genocide to come.

    Reply
  • November 18, 2019 at 8:37 pm
    Permalink

    what will happen when you are friends with america and you have oil?
    LOL
    Quartz:"China doesn't care about what kind of government it helps"
    AHMMM : "People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones at each others".
    I am sure you know about your democratic moral country history and we don't even have to go far into it.
    Not only that i fail to understand your logic that only when china builds internet, countries can shut it down
    and if USA builds one or even if they lease the tech to private companies why cannot they shut it down.The government has power to do it or not to do it its simple. In your case loans are not given until the people behave, dress, talk like u as told by the studio anchor or whatever she is.
    I know authoritarian governments and leaders are bad and vested in themselves but talk about hypocrisy.

    Reply
  • November 18, 2019 at 9:07 pm
    Permalink

    Africa is about to be a slave of China, Africa haven't you learned anything, you have all the gold, silver, diamonds and oil stop waiting for other countries taking advantage of you. It's a trick to trap you dummies, they just got the USA. You are next

    Reply
  • November 19, 2019 at 2:13 am
    Permalink

    You have free open internet? Don’t make me laugh!

    Reply
  • November 19, 2019 at 2:15 am
    Permalink

    A telling anecdote as told by journalist Howard French: A few years ago the US state department announced a 200 million dollars infrastructure project in a Western African country. No American company wanted to do it because they didn't think the money was worth the risk, as they saw it. So a Chinese company did it.

    An American official told Bloomberg a few years ago; We don't do infrastructure. Not as a lament, but as in "Don't bother asking us to do it."

    The Chinese do not care if you are a democracy or not. They do not care about what you think about the environment or the press or women's rights or the war on terror or any of the things Western countries demand that you do. They care about doing business, and in a distant second if you are willing to take money for not recognizing Taiwan as a country.

    Reply
  • November 19, 2019 at 8:44 am
    Permalink

    I wanna make videos like this where do i sign up quartz

    Reply
  • November 19, 2019 at 9:04 am
    Permalink

    我可去你妈的吧😊🙂🙂

    Reply
  • November 19, 2019 at 9:06 am
    Permalink

    I'd rather internet controlled by a national government than by a handful of multinational U.S-based tech companies who have a track record of abusing users and involving themselves directly in political affairs to repress others.

    Reply
  • November 19, 2019 at 10:05 am
    Permalink

    Sounds like communist China is exporting totalitarianism, whereas America and the West are trying to export Democracy…

    Reply
  • November 19, 2019 at 10:21 am
    Permalink

    "loans borrowed from the Chinese government" uhhh arnt they like trillions in debt?

    Reply
  • November 19, 2019 at 12:11 pm
    Permalink

    if China is building your internet, they're building a backdoor into everything you do

    Reply
  • November 19, 2019 at 1:12 pm
    Permalink

    are they trying to make China look bad like they usually do? Or trying to help China make a sale. I cant tell…..

    Reply
  • November 19, 2019 at 6:04 pm
    Permalink

    You become a Mongorian. – South Park

    Reply
  • November 19, 2019 at 6:55 pm
    Permalink

    Internet resources get restricted to pro government–people become stupid—-goverment can hold the power forever—–goverment can go corrupted forever—people happy*******China nowadays

    Reply
  • November 19, 2019 at 7:13 pm
    Permalink

    "Private Chinese companies" – Shows a sign saing "airtel", an Indian company

    Reply
  • November 19, 2019 at 7:23 pm
    Permalink

    bigger question is why dint america do it first? its pointless to be pointing fingers at China for everything when fact of the matter is that america had the technology first and thru its poor leadership lost it's global presence and foothold hence allowing another to fill the void.

    Reply
  • November 20, 2019 at 7:54 am
    Permalink

    i suppose the hypocritical westerners are coming to lecture Freedom, Democracy again in the comments zone ….and China is controlling Africa. nothing new all the same old propaganda and cliche!

    Reply
  • November 20, 2019 at 1:59 pm
    Permalink

    0:56 you say China and they splash the screen with an Indian mobile company "Airtel"

    Reply
  • November 20, 2019 at 2:03 pm
    Permalink

    THEY WILL KNOW EVERYTHING AND BE ABLE TO MANIPULATE EVERYTHING AS WELL! AS SIMPLE AS THIS! CHINA IS A THREAT!

    Reply
  • November 20, 2019 at 2:24 pm
    Permalink

    Oho! China really loves them corrupt and/or budding authoritarian governments. Birds of the same.

    Reply
  • November 20, 2019 at 2:25 pm
    Permalink

    you see, every this kind of media just want to link whatever china does to so called democracy or freedom.

    Reply
  • November 20, 2019 at 2:28 pm
    Permalink

    Oho! Soon, Zambians can no longer watch or buy Winnie the Pooh. 'Cause some turd is so insecure.

    Reply
  • November 20, 2019 at 4:19 pm
    Permalink

    showing a map of China without Taiwan province?

    Reply
  • November 20, 2019 at 9:25 pm
    Permalink

    So far… 385 persons seem to be against freedom… and in favor of the ccp way of life?

    Reply
  • November 20, 2019 at 9:34 pm
    Permalink

    Sorry, u forgot Taiwan on your cover map. Please correct the map and show some respect for China.

    Reply
  • November 20, 2019 at 11:03 pm
    Permalink

    Does the producer have any understanding of how the internet works? Building the hardware infrastructure and building the internet are very different things. It is the difference between a road builder and car builder. Clickbait!

    Reply
  • November 20, 2019 at 11:26 pm
    Permalink

    Don't blame China for your gov's action. China only build the infrastructure, how it is used is not in China's interest

    Reply
  • November 21, 2019 at 7:56 am
    Permalink

    The Africans and Asian countries have their own way of doing things and from what can be seen it works. Their populous mind their own business and resolve their own problems rather then worrying about outsiders. The Western countries could continue to exist in the future if we focused inwards instead of embracing Liberal social justice ideologies that have brought this ruination to West with endless wars and decaying population.

    Reply
  • November 21, 2019 at 1:37 pm
    Permalink

    The western did nothing in the past decades in Africa to help local people improving their lives. Now all of a sudden, they are concerned, in the name of democracy.

    Reply
  • November 21, 2019 at 2:41 pm
    Permalink

    "What happens when the US builds your country's internet?" – Memo by Angela Merkel.

    Reply
  • November 21, 2019 at 8:07 pm
    Permalink

    知乎观光团

    Reply
  • November 22, 2019 at 12:30 am
    Permalink

    West Is Patronizing ? Oh I would very much like to see how these countries turn out a two three decades from now.For the record the west does know better. They know what works for them unlike subsaharan african countries.

    Reply
  • November 22, 2019 at 12:53 am
    Permalink

    China will build Germany's 5G network…shit

    Reply
  • November 22, 2019 at 9:24 am
    Permalink

    fake news, bad media.

    Reply
  • November 23, 2019 at 7:31 am
    Permalink

    Internet is always better than NO internet. Once you have the infrastructure built, you can choose how you use it. There's always VPN and TOR. It's also the people's choice. Of course China wants some control. Nothing is free, and anyone from a capitalist country should know that by now already.

    Reply
  • November 23, 2019 at 12:28 pm
    Permalink

    Then Quartz happens to you….yeah, highly unbecoming….

    Reply
  • November 24, 2019 at 8:23 am
    Permalink

    Okay this is coming to the Philippines now… Duterte allowed to have Chinese providers dominate the telecommunications and Internet services… In no time China will be a spy in every phones in the Philippines.. I'm so sad. Scary

    Reply
  • November 24, 2019 at 8:26 am
    Permalink

    The black woman 3:26 and the bald guy 4:26 sounds the same!! Omg they are China's robots!

    Reply
  • November 24, 2019 at 6:27 pm
    Permalink

    Nothing is for free, the price one pays for letting China gives u connectivity is freedom

    Reply
  • November 24, 2019 at 6:28 pm
    Permalink

    Freedom is not for free

    Reply
  • November 24, 2019 at 10:41 pm
    Permalink

    The Fake News of the USA is keeping smearing China.
    Actually it is the America who is spying on the whole world.
    Facebook, twitter, windows, android are all involved.
    Search Snowden, and search CLOUD act, to find out what the Americans are doing.

    Reply
  • November 25, 2019 at 8:01 pm
    Permalink

    There is no religion in China so its not a religion influence. The Chinese want money and growth. Hail CCP!

    Reply
  • November 25, 2019 at 10:44 pm
    Permalink

    Airtel is an Indian Company

    Reply
  • November 26, 2019 at 11:39 am
    Permalink

    DOES CHINA EVEN EXIST?

    Reply
  • November 26, 2019 at 9:41 pm
    Permalink

    This is the surface of what China is doing. On the inside it is a whole another story. In reality US and China are the same. One uses war tactics, sanctions, or the CIA to install puppet governments to destabilize other countries, while other one buys whatever it can get on this earth, develop infrastructure but using exclusively Chinese workers, instead of providing employment to local people and basically flood the market with their products so that local industries do not develop and ensure that the country basically works on their whims. So by the end of the day, both work exactly the same, but by using way different tactics…

    Reply
  • November 28, 2019 at 6:24 am
    Permalink

    concept not bad any one can do anything in the name of good faith you me or we anyone let them do who has idea n ability better than having nothing.

    Reply
  • November 28, 2019 at 9:36 am
    Permalink

    Hahaha yes yes USA is soooo good that’s why edward snowden run away and America is after him 😂

    Reply
  • November 28, 2019 at 1:51 pm
    Permalink

    love your work!

    Reply
  • November 28, 2019 at 1:53 pm
    Permalink

    Ofcourse the 5 STAR AND THE SKY WILL BECOME RED, as 5G is going across the SKY… WHAT ELSE.. 🥴🥴🥴🥴

    Reply
  • November 28, 2019 at 4:34 pm
    Permalink

    Well they have

    All the modems routers swtches even mobiles
    Are made in china…

    Reply
  • November 28, 2019 at 5:19 pm
    Permalink

    US – No oil or resource, no interest for us.

    Reply
  • November 28, 2019 at 11:49 pm
    Permalink

    Homeboy said 3G lmaooo

    Reply
  • November 28, 2019 at 11:51 pm
    Permalink

    You are jealous & blind western person. You only blaming China for something that never proved (may its true), but you never mention spying of the western country and government all over world. What type of people you are who is completely blind and morally corrupted.

    Reply
  • November 29, 2019 at 5:24 am
    Permalink

    dunno if i should laugh at this or what? they make china sounds evil. when something is a gift, it will also be a curse. thats how progress is made. expecting something great without giving anything in return is pretty entitled .

    Reply
  • November 30, 2019 at 11:31 pm
    Permalink

    CCP is just the worst

    Reply
  • December 1, 2019 at 3:22 pm
    Permalink

    Chinese propaganda! This guys where paid!

    Reply
  • December 2, 2019 at 12:22 am
    Permalink

    It's most likely better than Australias embarrassing slow internet

    Reply
  • December 2, 2019 at 4:44 am
    Permalink

    Jika China membangun jaringan internet di wilayah kami. Maka, kemungkinan akan penuh pajak dan harga menjadi lebih mahal dengan kualitas yang belum terjamin. 😛

    Reply
  • December 2, 2019 at 10:30 am
    Permalink

    Pretty sure Zambia dont support Taiwan. lols..
    uhh Huawei was also named. The big diference from USA and China, USA is watching you, China is controling you and sending people to fun camps.

    Reply
  • December 4, 2019 at 3:32 am
    Permalink

    China only works with other countries' governments, as opposed to their local private companies, because that's how they control those countries. By controlling their governments with actions that are in line with their communist values.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *