China’s Tech-Enhanced Authoritarianism

Issue Date April 2022
Volume 33
Issue 2
Page Numbers 76–89
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Read the full essay here.

This essay focuses on China to illustrate the full scope of challenges facing liberal democracies when emerging technologies are wielded by a powerful regime aiming to bend the world to accommodate its authoritarianism. While the national-security implications of China’s technological rise have been well documented, and democratic governments have begun to take steps in response, the threat to democratic norms and institutions has yet to be fully examined. At the same time, liberal democracies must clearly explain to their citizens why China’s tech-enhanced authoritarianism is a direct and major threat that, among other things, undermines individual autonomy and freedom of expression. Liberal democracies must also be clear about why the alternative they offer is better. They should define and promote liberal-democratic values, and invest heavily in protecting them.

About the Author

Samantha Hoffman is a senior analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute’s International Cyber Policy Centre, where she focuses on the domestic and global implications of the Chinese Communist Party’s approach to state security. She is the author of the report “Engineering Global Consent: The Chinese Communist Party’s Data-Driven Power Expansion” (2019).

View all work by Samantha Hoffman