China’s 1% Is Watching the Other 99%

Over the past decade, the introduction of advanced surveillance technologies in China has given the Chinese Communist Party more power to spy on citizens than any regime in history. Western governments fear this techno-authoritarian model could spread as China sells its gear to developing countries around the world. The US has imposed a slew of restrictions on Chinese companies in part to slow the development and export of such technologies.

While vigilance is warranted, apocalyptic warnings about a world dominated by Chinese-style Big Brothers are overblown. China’s surveillance state is so powerful not because of technology, but because of the CCP’s unrivaled organizational presence and sophistication. That unique system can’t be exported as easily as cameras, sensors, and software.

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