"I've come to collect my Bachelor's degree."
"Here, have a diploma, instead." A sudden law change about university degrees sets off something the Chinese government did not expect. Why don't Chinese people rise up? They do! Only to be met with the most brutal of punishments. With thanks to laowhy86.
A totalitarian regime has one priority and one priority alone: it must remain in control. In order to accomplish this, it must know everything, prescribe everything and enforce its prescriptions everywhere. Totalitarianism is not totalitarianism because the regime tries to control everything its subordinates do, it is totalitarian because it tries to control everything—full stop. The actual outcome of its control of everything is irrelevant, so long as it remains in control. Each and every such regime that has ever existed runs up against the one thing it cannot control: the fact that its subordinates are human. Unfortunately for totalitarianism, humans have passions, desires and interests.
There are ways of abolishing these awkward human traits entirely, thereby turning the population into zombies with no interest in their own self-preservation and so effectively beyond control. More usefully, the regime could control passions, desires and interests, and make self-preservation dependent on only the prescribed passions, desires and interests being pursued, and all others avoided. This does mean either foreclosing all future outlets that their subordinates might find for their passions, desires and interests, as Islam does, or responding very quickly and thoroughly to any new outlet that leads to an unexpected outcome that threatens the regime's total control. Such a case is China. Whereas under Islam, the rules are constant, in China, the rules change all the time.
The Middle Kingdom nightmare... Thus has it ever been, now with QR-codes.