Media and Presentations

I am available for presentations and interviews on topics related to Chinese state security, political control methods (including social credit), and application of technology to these processes. Email requests to: Please state your full name and affiliation.

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I have been interviewed and quoted in numerous global media outlets, including: 

The New York Times, The Financial Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Foreign Policy, the BBC, The Guardian (UK and Australia), The Australian Broadcast Corporation, The Daily Beast, Financial Review, Al Jazeera, Deutsche Welle, Science, WIRED, and Newsweek. 

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I have spoken on Chinese state security and political control strategies to government, think tank and academic audiences. Notable hosts include:

The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, The China Forum 2018, The Australian Strategic Policy Institute, Global Affairs Canada, The United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Project 2049 Institute, The International Institute for Strategic Studies, Chatham House, the Changing Character of War Centre (University of Oxford), and the University of Vienna.

Media Highlights

"Masks, Cash and Apps: How Hong Kong's Protesters Find Ways to Outwit the Surveillance State" | Shibani Mahtani

Samantha Hoffman, a fellow at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute’s Cyber Center, said data-­collection methods used in China have been specifically designed to intimidate people from participating in demonstrations. She described the strategy as “killing the root before the weed can grow.” “It’s a form of preemptive security,” she said. Still, researchers say it has been difficult to figure out the extent to which the Hong Kong Police Force cooperates with China on surveillance technology and tools.” (Image: User Radu Bercan/

"At Stake in Huawei’s German Bid, Economic Gain vs. National Security" | Clifford Coonan

“Samantha Hoffman, an analyst at the International Cyber Policy Centre at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, warns the German government would be irresponsible to ignore the BND’s advice. “One issue is that it seems Germany has bought the Chinese Communist Party’s argument that the bilateral trade relationship can be separated from politics, but the party itself doesn’t separate political and economic issues, so why would it do so in the bilateral relationship with Germany?” says Ms. Hoffman, a former visiting academic fellow at the Mercator Institute for China Studies in Berlin.” (Image: User Gil C/

Experts Warn China's Technology Could Spread Authoritarianism Around the World | Cristina Maza

“The U.S. is not simply managing a threat to national security, also to its long-term economic stability, and the protection and stability of its civil liberties,” Hoffman told the committee. “[The Chinese Communist Party] aims to re-shape global governance, it intends to control international discourse on China and the channels through which individuals, governments, and businesses can engage with China. The smart cities are the embodiment of these strategies, allowing the CCP to blur the line between cooperative and coercive forms of control,” Hoffman added.” (Image: User Sharaf Maksumov/

"US takes aim at Chinese surveillance as the trade war becomes a tech war" | Arjun Kharpal

“China’s discussion around using technology to control and manage society can be traced back to the 1970s and 1980s, according to Samantha Hoffman, a fellow at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute’s International Cyber Policy Centre. But it was in 2000, with the launch of the “Golden Shield Project,” that China’s surveillance drive really kicked off. The aim was to create a centralized database system with every citizen’s records that can be accessed by security forces around the country.” (Image: User Ken Wolter /

"The Complicated Truth about China's Social Credit System" | Nicole Kobie

However, the Chinese justice system leaves much to be desired, says Hoffman. “There are no genuine protections for the people and entities subject to the system,” she says. “In China there is no such thing as the rule of law. Regulations that can be largely apolitical on the surface can be political when the Communist Party of China (CCP) decides to use them for political purposes.” …”She adds that social credit is a tech-enabled way to tie political power to social and economic development that’s been discussed in the country since the 1980s, an automation of Chairman Mao’s Mass Line — a term to describe how the party’s leadership shaped and managed society. ” (Image: User 360b/

"How McKinsey Has Helped Raise the Stature of Authoritarian Governments" | Walt Bogdanich and Michael Forsythe

“The idea of smart cities is to make them more manageable by collecting data from sources like cameras. In an authoritarian state like China, that raises broad concerns. “Police patrols cannot be everywhere, for instance, but predictive analytics can deploy them in the right place at the right time,” McKinsey wrote in a report in June. “It is about political control,” said Samantha Hoffman, a fellow at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.” (Image: littlenySTOCK /

"China Accused of Using Belt and Road for Spying | Stefania Palma

“Samantha Hoffman, a research consultant at IISS, a think-tank, said that beyond monitoring mega-projects or information gathering, China likely wants to use data collected to damp down dissent. “It’s also about controlling debate and ideas where that has specific security and diplomatic consequences,” she said. Ms Hoffman has written that “data courier stations” in foreign countries including ecommerce platforms, Confucius Institutes, telecoms networks, transportation companies, hotels, financial payment institutions and logistics companies “would send data via back-ends to a centralised analysis centre in China.” (Image: User Claudio Divizia/

"China Accuses Detained Interpol Chief of Bribery’" | Lily Kuo and Jon Henley

“Meng, like all other Chinese citizens, is required to be loyal to Chinese Communist party first, and must comply with the party’s political demands, including approaches to security that contradict international norms,” said Samantha Hoffman of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute. “In Meng’s case, this should have been disqualifying. In other cases, this should at the very least raise serious questions about any senior Chinese Communist party official taking a leadership position at any international institution.” (Image: User chrisdorney/

"China Takes its Political Censorship Global. Will America Resist?’" | Josh Rogin

“By accommodating China’s political demands, even partially, airlines are abetting a false depiction of U.S. policy on Taiwan and playing into China’s game, said Samantha Hoffman, visiting fellow at the Mercator Institute for China Studies. “The Chinese Communist Party intends to shape how people and entities are willing to talk about China and Taiwan,” she said. “The more unclear Taiwan’s status becomes, the more the party’s goal is incrementally achieved.” (Image: User Radu Bercan/

China Wants Eyes and Ears on Every Street |

The authorities’ definition of what is threatening is sweeping. It might include someone engaging in unauthorised religious activity, or involve a person from the countryside who has arrived in the capital to petition the central government about an injustice in their own hometown. Local governments hope that grid staff will get to know their patch well enough to be able to detect problems while they are small and easy to handle, says Samantha Hoffman, a visiting fellow at the Mercator Institute for China Studies. (Image: User Gil C/

ZTE Could Help Chinese ‘Institutes’ at Western Schools Become Surveillance Hubs | Bethany Allen Ebrahimian

When it comes to Chinese tech giants like ZTE and iFlytek, which provides software to Confucius Institutes, “the technology does what it says it does,” said Hoffman. “But then there’s the question of what else it does.” “The problem we face in identifying potential wrongdoing is that technology and processes we are talking about as potentially problematic are embedded in normal, innocuous everyday activity that legitimately optimized services,” said Hoffman. “In this case, this would be the education a Confucius Institute provides.” (Image User Sharaf Maksumov /

"White House calls China’s threats to airlines ‘Orwellian nonsense’" | Josh Rogin

That reference to “Civil Industry Credit Management” is citing a trial regulation on credit scoring in the aviation industry, and the letter claims United’s labeling of Taiwan is equal to “serious dishonesty” under that regulation, said Samantha Hoffman, visiting fellow at the Mercator Institute for China Studies. “China’s domestic law, in this case on civil aviation credit and cybersecurity, allow China to extend something like ‘social credit’ beyond its own borders,” she said. (Image: User Radu Bercan/

"Inside China's Vast New Experiment in Social Ranking" | Mara Hvistendahl

“Samantha Hoffman, a consultant with the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London who is researching social credit, says that the government wants to preempt instability that might threaten the Party. “That’s why social credit ideally requires both coercive aspects and nicer aspects, like providing social services and solving real problems. It’s all under the same Orwellian umbrella…” (Image: User 360b/

"China's Anti-Spy Campaign: Cash Rewards and Warnings of 'Dangerous Times'" | Lily Kuo

““The campaigns are centred around the idea that ‘everyone is responsible’ for participating in China’s state security. Participation is aimed at preventing, stopping and punishing behaviour that could compromise state security,” said Samantha Hoffman, an analyst focusing on Chinese state security and visiting fellow at the Mercator Institute for China Studies in Germany.” (Image: User chrisdorney/

"U.S. Lawmakers Target Chinese Interference in New Bill" | Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian

“We cannot lose sight of the fact that we are dealing with civil liberties challenges, not just national security challenges,” said Samantha Hoffman, a researcher at the Mercator Institute for China Studies in Berlin.” (Image: via Wikimedia Commons)
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