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The Chinese party-state engages in data collection on a massive scale as a means of generating information to enhance state security—and, crucially, the political security of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)—across multiple domains. The party-state intends to shape, manage and control its global operating environment so that public sentiment is favourable to its own interests. The party’s interests are prioritised over simply the Chinese state’s interests or simply the Chinese people’s interests. The effort requires continuous expansion of the party’s power overseas because, according to its own articulation of its threat perceptions, external risks to its power are just as likely—if not more likely—to emerge from outside the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) borders as from within.

 

This report explains how the party-state’s tech-enhanced authoritarianism is expanding globally. The effort doesn’t always involve distinctly coercive and overtly invasive technology, such as surveillance cameras. In fact, it often relies on technologies that provide useful services. Those services are designed to bring efficiency to everyday governance and convenience to everyday life. The problem is that it’s not only the customer deploying these technologies—notably those associated with ‘smart cities’, such as ‘internet of things’ (IoT) devices—that derives benefit from their use. Whoever has the opportunity to access the data a product generates and collects can derive value from the data. How the data is processed, and then used, depends on the intent of the actor processing it.

Complete List |

  • “The Flipside of China’s Central Bank Digital Currency” (editor of the co-authored report) ASPI, 13 October 2020.
  • “Technical Difficulties” contributor to China File Conversation, 25 September 2020.
  • “China’s Zoom Bomb” contributor to China File Conversation, 16 June 2020.
  • “Retweeting through the Great Firewall”, (contributor to co-authored report), ASPI, 12 June 2020.
  • “Engineering Global Consent: The Chinese Communist Party’s Data-Driven Power Expansion” ASPI, 14 October 2019.
  • “Britain Must Avoid Being Sucked into Huawei’s Moral Vacuum” CAPX, 24 June 2019.
  • China’s Tech-Enhanced Authoritarianism” Written Testimony for the U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence for a hearing “China’s Digital Authoritarianism: Surveillance, Influence, and Political Control“, 16 May 2019.
  • “Mapping China’s Tech Giants”  a report by ASPI ICPC analysts Danielle Cave, Dr Samantha Hoffman, Alex Joske, Fergus Ryan & Elise Thomas to accompany the Mapping China’s Tech Giants website, 18 April 2019.
  • “The Chinese Communist Party Always Needs An Enemy.” Foreign Policy24 January 2019.
  • “Detentions show the length China will go in fight with the West.” The Hill,  23 January 2019.
  • “The People’s Republic of China: What Can the UK and Its Allies Learn from Competitors and Rising Powers?” The Changing Character of War Centre, 10 December 2018.
  • “Managing the State: Social Credit, Surveillance and the CCP’s Plan for China” in AI, China, Russia, and the Global Order: Technological, Political, Global, and Creative Perspectives, December 2018.  (Note: My contribution is a reprinted article, with permission from The Jamestown Foundation’s China Brief).
  • “The United Front and the CCP’s “People’s War” against Religion” Written Testimony for the Congressional-Executive Commission on China Hearing on The Communist Party’s Crackdown on Religion in China, 28 November 2018.
  • “Technology and Chinese Communist Party Power.” in Party Watch Annual Report 2018, Party Watch Initiative, 18 October 2018.
  • “Grasping Power with Both Hands: Social Credit, the Mass Line, and Party Control.” China Brief, 10 October 2018.
  • “Hacking for Ca$h.” ASPI International Cyber Policy Centre, 25 September 2018.
  • “Huawei and the ambiguity of China’s intelligence and counter-espionage laws.” The Strategist, 13 September 2018.
  • “Social Credit: Technology Enhanced Social Control with Global Consequences.” ASPI International Cyber Policy Centre, 28 June 2018.
  • Peter Mattis and Samantha Hoffman, “China Shapes the International Media Environment,” in Ilan Berman, ed., Digital Dictators: Media, Authoritarianism, and America’s New Challenge (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2018)
  • “China’s Incursion on American Campuses is Nothing to Take Lightly.” The Hill, 3 May 2017.
  • “Programming China: The Communist Party’s Autonomic Approach to Managing State Security.” MERICS Monitor No 44, 12 December 2017.
  • “China’s State Security Strategy: ‘Everyone is Responsible’.” The Australian Strategic Policy Institute’s The Strategist, 11 December 2017. Republished as IISS Expert Commentary on 14 December 2017 and as a Mercator Institute for China Studies blog on 15 December 2017.
  • “Chinese Legislation Points to New Intelligence Co-Ordinating System.” Jane’s Intelligence Review, October 2017.
  • “Managing the State: Social Credit, Surveillance and the CCP’s Plan for China.” China Brief, 17 August 2017
  • “Is Big Data Increasing Beijing’s Capacity for Control?” contribution in China File conversation co-authored with Peter Mattis, also published in Foreign Policy as “What Could China’s ‘Social Credit System’ Mean for its Citizens?” August 2016.
  • “Managing the Power from Within: China’s State Security Commission.” co-authored with Peter Mattis, War on the Rocks, 18 July 2016.
  • “’Dangerous Love’: China’s All-Encompassing Security Vision.” The National Interest, 17 May 2016.
  • “Cautious Partners: Asian Cyber-Security Alliance Remains Distant.” Jane’s Intelligence Review, May 2016.
  • “Ensuring Comprehensive State Security in the “Ideological Battleground” Online.” China Brief, 16 November 2015.
  • “Space Control: China Tightens Grip on Cyberspace.” Jane’s Intelligence Review, June 2015.
  • “Environmental Protests Expose Weaknesses in China’s Leadership.” co-authored with Jonathan Sullivan, Forbes, 22 June 2015.
  • “Why a village land protest spells trouble for China’s government”, co-authored with Jonathan Sullivan, The Conversation, 10 April 2015. Also appeared in The Straits Times and The Business Spectator.
  • “China prioritises managing unrest over reforms.” Jane’s Intelligence Review, February 2015.
  • “Escalating Land Protests in Yunnan”, China Policy Institute Blog, 6 November 2014.
  • “In China, people are protesting about the government’s rubbish policy on waste incineration.” The Conversation, 2 October 2014.
  • “China must follow through on pledges to improve notorious petition system.” (appeared in SCMP print edition as “Limited Appeal”), co-authored with Jonathan Sullivan, The South China Morning Post, 27 May 2014.
  • “China can’t ignore Workers’ well-being if it wants to avert strikes.” (SCMP print edition “Costs and Benefits” and SCMP Chinese Online Edition “Gaoshan gongren fuli cai shi bimian gongchao zhi dao”), co-authored with Jonathan Sullivan, The South China Morning Post, 29 April 2014.
  • “China’s new petitioning guidelines and social governance policy.” China Policy Institute Blog, 3 March 2014.
  • “China’s Proposed ‘State Security Council’: Social governance under Xi Jinping.” co-authored with Peter Mattis, China Policy Institute Blog, 21 November 2013.
  • “Inside China’s New Security Council.” co-authored with Peter Mattis, The National Interest, 21 November 2013.
  • “Portents of Change in China’s Social Management.” China Brief, 3 August 2012.
  • “Sino-Philippine Tension and Trade Both Rising Amid Scarborough Standoff,” China Brief, 27 April 2012.
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