China is the first country to employ digital tracking
systems (Jiankang Ma) on social media apps like WeChat and Alipay as monitoring
devices to monitor people's travels to prevent the spread of Covid-19. The
system collects citizens' individual information, including personal data
(gender, I.D. number, etc.), personal health information (body temperature,
contact with people from high-risk areas, etc.), travel history in the past 14
days, and health certification information (COVID-19 test by authorized
organizations) to help effectively control the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.
Although the health code policy showed effective outcomes after its
implementation, there are significant worries regarding the system's potential
for abuse or exploitation at the expense of individual rights due to the
seeming unrestricted collection of personal data. Citizens began to question
whether the Health Code is a technology for regulating the virus or a tool to
surveil individuals' privacy, revealing the problem of information regulation
policies of the Chinese government. This essay, therefore, will provide a deep
insight into the operation mode of the Chinese Health code and seek the balance
between the effectiveness of pandemic control and the infringement of citizens'
privacy due to the unrestricted collection of personal information.