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Shenzhen plans to ID cars and reclaim land stoke controversy

Shenzhen plans to pilot electronic identifiers for vehicles. (fuyu liu/

To some, Shenzhen’s plans for automobile tracking and land reclamation are bold examples of urban innovation. To others, they represent dangerous policies with environmental and privacy consequences.

Jake Spring reports for Reuters that the city of more than 15 million people is the first in China to pilot electronic identifiers for vehicles. The goals include curbing fake license plates and other illegal activity. The radio frequency technology could eventually facilitate autonomous vehicles and “smart traffic” applications.

Nevertheless, the electronic IDs have triggered privacy concerns because they also enable real-time tracking of motorists, the article says. An estimated 200,000 trucks and buses are being outfitted with the tags, which could be expanded to private cars. 

Meanwhile, Caixin reports that Shenzhen plans to reclaim 55 square kilometers from its coast. The land would be prioritized for residential development in a bid to lower skyrocketing housing prices. Chinadialogue warned in its weekly news digest that the massive construction project could have big environmental impacts for the Pearl River delta. 


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