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The Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology and the Beijing City Government commissioned the researchers with publishing a code of ethics to ensure that “human privacy, dignity, freedom, autonomy and rights are sufficiently respected” in the development of AI technologies. Technology Review reports that Beijing University, Tsinghua University, the Institute of Automation and the Institute of Computing Technology within the Chinese Academy of Sciences, as well as the country’s three major Internet companies, Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent, were involved in drafting the code.

Despite its basic accordance with western values, the code of ethics constitutes a set of rules that can be interpreted in quite different ways because it is formulated in very general terms. The Chinese government in any case does not seem to see any contradiction with its planned social credit system , which rewards good behavior by adding social points and punishes undesirable behavior by deducting points. Even a majority of Chinese citizens considers the necessary interference in their privacy and autonomy as acceptable.