This week, authorities in Beijing announced an initiative to catch corrupt officials who have fled overseas. The plan, set to be put into action next month, will better coordinate Chinese investigations into offshore funds and "underground banks" used by officials to funnel money out of the country.
It's just another anti-graft measure implemented under the watch of President Xi Jinping, who has made the fight against corruption a signature issue since coming to power toward the end of 2012. According to Bloomberg News, Xi's campaigns "have snared more than 100,000 cadres," or members of the Communist Party.
About 150 Chinese economic fugitives are suspected to be in the United States, the BBC reports.
But there's one thing slightly troubling about the latest campaign to catch fugitive officials abroad: its name. Chinese officials have dubbed it "Sky Net."
Yes, like Skynet. Still confused?
Fans of the "Terminator" film series will know that Skynet is the synthetic intelligence platform — the computerized evil genius — that's bent on eradicating humanity through an array of robotic killing machines. China, notorious for its sophisticated cybersurveillance systems, probably did not intend the comparison when naming the operation in Chinese.
"While Hollywood’s Skynet is villainous, the members of China’s Sky Net team undoubtedly see themselves as playing the good Terminator role," muses the Wall Street Journal's China Real Time blog, referring to the plot twist in the series in which one of Skynet's cyborgs gets reprogrammed to defend humans.
It's not entirely a laughing matter, though. Beijing has demonstrated a similar penchant for stark rhetoric when talking about national security. Critics say Chinese counterterrorism measures in the far-western region of Xinjiang, home to Uighurs, a Turkic Muslim minority, have led to a suppression of Uighur rights and culture. Last year, Xi evocatively declared that he would build "walls of copper and steel" to stop terrorism and called for "nets spread from the earth to the sky."
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