The Chinese Communist Party’s national newspaper the People’s Daily and China National Radio are reporting that one Yuan banknotes illegally stamped with QR Codes (image below) are in circulation in China. The QR Codes are accompanied by a message ‘Scan and download software to break the Internet firewall’. This of course refers to the ‘Great Firewall of China’ a censorship and surveillance project operated by the Ministry of Public Security division of the government of China. Because the firewall blocks domain names and destination IP addresses it is possible to bypass the censorship by using proxy nodes and encrypting the data. Presumably the QR Code resolved to a website that explains how this may be accomplished although I am unable to determine the site in question.
What is really interesting about this story is that the news appeared in government controlled media which is tacit admission that there is an Internet firewall in China and that there are ways to get around it. As yet no one knows who is responsible but putting messages on money is a tactic long used by practitioners of Falun Gong, a traditional spiritual practice that has been persecuted in mainland China since 1999.