Tencent has announced a health QR code system for students returning to school. 

Why it matters: Many provinces have announced staggered school and university restart dates with Jiangsu province the first to announce resumption dates for kindergarten of Apr. 7, and high school, Apr. 13. 

  • China’s schools shut for the new year and many remained so, in the government’s bid to curb gatherings. Less affected provinces have reopened brick-and-mortar schools but Beijing and Shanghai have yet to. 
  • These school-focused health codes, following the rollout of general health codes, point to a tech-powered return to normalcy.

Details: Tencent is cooperating with provincial CDC offices in its initiative. The system, called Fuxuema, will have students report their temperature and other health information daily, 14 days before and after the start of school.

  • According to screenshots provided by Tencent, the mini program will generate a QR code and a short statement on the student’s health and residency status. 
  • Under this system, each school can stick a passcode at its entrance which parents can then scan for unimpeded access. 
  • The information will be shared with WeChat Work, Tencent’s office collaboration platform, so that education officials and teachers can track the health status of their students. 

Context: Tencent and Alibaba both rolled out health code systems last month, which operate like internal passports shown when entering public spaces like supermarkets, workplaces and public transport. 

  • These code systems track and regulate mobility on the basis of travel history and self-reported health information. 
  • In its Q4 report, Tencent claimed that its health code was the most widely used, with its president Martin Lau saying that the system attracted 8 billion visits.

Lavender Au

Lavender covers regulation and its effects on people. She previously worked in a policy advisory analyzing China’s internal governance for foreign governments and multinationals. A History graduate from...