GREETINGS. I am Xi Jinping, President of China. While rounding up non-conformist Uighur Muslims in the Xinjiang marketplace last week, I was accosted by a stallholder who begged me to spare his family in return for a pirate copy of something titled Terminator: Dark Fate.

Initially, I dismissed the oestrogen-drenched cover art as yet more ‘woke’ Western feminist propaganda, but something about the only man in the image – an impossibly muscular, steely-jawed, leather-clad testament to masculinity with a powerful grip on his huge shiny gun – appealed to me.

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Snatching this intriguing VHS tape from his calloused, clawed hands, I immediately stepped on my tank’s accelerator to rush home – flattening the stallholder in my excitement. Yes, he lives on in the memories of his loved ones, but this form of immortality will only be temporary – for I have since relocated his family to a holiday camp in the secluded north-west region of China to undergo revitalising “thought transformation” treatments.

Although you Westerners view our AI surveillance systems and re-education centres as abhorrent fascist monstrosities that mirror the segregationist pursuits of Adolf Hitler, I was surprised to learn in the documentary Terminator: Dark Fate that the US has a few issues of its own with automated technology wiping out undesirables!

I honestly was not expecting the film to be such a revealing and hilarious fly-on-the-wall insight into how America's laughably dated military technologies now lag behind China’s own recent breakthroughs. And compare their detention centre facilities to ours – as you can see, we take this kind of thing seriously. Not just a few squalid makeshift sheds on the Mexican border.

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Admittedly, Terminator: Dark Fate also shows that China and the US have much in common – with the Pentagon even copying the name of our all-seeing eye AI surveillance system Skynet. Like its US equivalent, our Skynet helps to reduce China's 1.2 billion population into something more manageable. And much more effectively if - spoiler alert - the rebels' ultimate victory in Dark Fate is anything to go by!

Yet, despite the primitive US tech on display, Dark Fate is still one of the greatest documentaries I’ve ever seen. Almost on a par with BBC’s recent journalism expose The Papers in portraying despair, fear and mass disappearances.

The film’s evocative artwork of a scorched battleground littered with skeletons and skulls also resonated deeply with me – because it is an eerily picture-perfect representation of the many Muslim burial grounds I’ve recently desecrated in northwest China. Not that I would scatter the bones of thousands of undesirables and smash their tombstones to rubble for no reason, of course. Like my party officials recently confirmed, we are simply clearing suitable areas for urban development by “standardising” graveyards that only a ostracised minority sect ever visited.

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Clearly, these are perfect spots for children’s playgrounds. So we built a few, even naming one ‘Happiness Park’ and erecting a statue of a smiling giant panda in the centre. No, really. You can find it in online maps – but not if you’re here in China, where I banned google.

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Rise of the machines

ALTHOUGH my copy of Terminator: Dark Fate was VHS and not 4K, it was still just like looking out the window. I half expected a man with a soapy bucket popping his head up to catch me masturbating. Not that I get any deviant thrill at depictions of military might, killer robots, relentless persecution, indestructible machinery, genocide, fascism and totalitarianism, of course. Such vanilla malevolence just doesn’t do it for me anymore, with such horrors long since normalised in my everyday reality.

Even that big military parade a few days ago – showing off all China’s cutting-edge technology to the world – left me somewhat empty inside. For where does a man go after having his face sewn onto silk sheets and draped over the world’s most advanced nuclear missiles? Perhaps only John Connor, the troublesome rebel commander in the Dark Fate documentary, would understand the aching loneliness of being the person all others follow and revere.

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Producer James Cameron certainly understands the isolation one feels upon reaching the top of the mountain. This is a man who takes orders from no-one, continually disregarding the advice of pygmies to do exactly what he wants – presently defying the wishes of everyone who saw Avatar to create four sequels.

And in Dark Fate, this true visionary has produced a seminal work that captures today’s inter-connected, forward-thinking world perfectly. Totalitarian dystopia. The illusion of freewill. Ethnic cleansing slowly validated through drip-fed propaganda. Terrifying displays of technologically-advanced military might designed to intimidate and obliterate entire continents of flesh. The function and will of advanced drones handed over to adaptive algorithms. Always-online AI systems compartmentalising persecuted populaces into distinct herds. Faceless machine logic identifying unworthy flesh, designating it to prison camps, stripping it of all dignity and identity, breaking it down to broken shells held together by the glue of subservience.

Dark Fate even had China’s new liquid metal robots in there. No really, we have liquid metal robots. Again, if you’re not in China, google it.

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I’m also particularly proud that the US seem to have copied not only the name of our omnipresent artificial intelligence in the sky, Skynet – but also its function. Like here, this facial recognition software was created to identify threats – tirelessly observing, profiling and targeting rebels who somehow escaped any military round-ups or crackdowns on their non-conformism.

Infact, the only criticism I have of Dark Fate is that it focused too much on the resistance’s perception of events – much like the Western media’s reporting on Hong Kong! It was heartening, however, that the film’s concluding message was that all soldiers share the same fate no matter what side they serve – blind submission in the face of power.

For in Dark Fate, it’s only upon dying for their worthless humanist cause that the rebels realise they were never free, that they were simply fighting for an alternative form of slavery – collared at the end of a leash held by a master called John Connor, who sent them to fight an unwinnable war. America never learns. And they call me a tyrant!

The China syndrome

IF you’re wondering how that stallholder had an advance copy of Dark Fate, I’ve since discovered that China actually funded much of this documentary. Apparently, this is merely the latest instalment in a franchise and was only made with the backing of Tencent – my country’s leading social media and games firm. I was told the previous one ‘Genysis’ was so atrocious that it only turned a profit in China, thanks to our love of killer robots, futuristic weaponry and totalitarian apocalyptic dystopia.

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Tencent’s secret mission to amass intelligence on US technological prowess certainly confirms we are light years ahead, with our recent military parade showcasing astonishing new advancements in nuclear weaponry facilitated by breakthroughs in quantum computing, AI and big data harvesting.

You may have been watching the news and spotted our HSU 001 system, the WZ-8 supersonic targeting drone and the Sharp Sword stealth drone – all making Terminator’s Hunter Killer drone looking like a Wright Brothers sketch.

Similarly impressive was our DF-41 intercontinental ballistic missile, capable of targeting any part of the globe with multiple warheads. And my personal favourite, our DF-17 ballistic missile – which cannot be destroyed by any known defence system due to its unmatchable speed.

And even though our Skynet has a similar modus operandi to the self-aware computer in Dark Fate, the US recently announced they are now blacklisting many Chinese tech companies that develop our facial recognition software and other AI technology. They claim our 20 million CCTV cameras are being used to repress China’s Muslim minority groups.

Still, it won't long until we catch up with the 30 million cameras now deployed in the US, which shoot four billion hours of footage each week. And when we do, Americans can take solace in the fact it’s perhaps not long until until they catch up on copying our ‘great wall’ idea too!

Terminator: Dark Fate rating: ***** Five stars (on a red flag)

And finally ...

THE Pentagon may tremble in fear of our technological prowess, military might and brainwashed 1.2 billion populace being prepared for war, but US companies still love China. And we love them for their friendly customer service – always willing to accommodate the needs of totalitarian regimes for a few billion dollars. And again, I'd like to thank Apple for pulling the Taiwanese flag emoji from keyboards in Hong Kong. Not that I was ever aware of the existence of a Taiwanese flag, of course.

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Yet, the US government thinks differently from apolitical facilitators and enablers such as Apple. They claim we don’t respect international norms like the rule of law or basic human rights, and that our AI superiority is globally destabilising.

But take our Skynet system – even the post-apocalyptic wasteground of Glasgow in Scotland is embracing similar technology so police can identify non-conformists. Installed in around 70 CCTV banks in the city, the cosy-sounding “Suspect Recognition” service allows Police Scotland to make use of “advanced video analytics” to track down “individuals involved in crime or anti-social behaviour” by studying faces and assessing features for mood and extent of a target’s alcohol or chemical inebriation.

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Human rights advocates have maliciously suggested China has used machine learning technologies like facial recognition software to turn our country into a pervasive surveillance state that has inspired the authorities in Scotland and the rest of the Western world to follow suit, but perhaps we should all heed the words of my friend Vladmir. Always a source of wise counsel in these matters, he said: “AI is the future, not only for Russia, but for all humankind. Whoever becomes the leader in this sphere will be the ruler of the world.” Certainly, we would all face a dark fate indeed if anyone but China succeeded in this goal.