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.
China’s Tech-Enhanced Authoritarianism
Issue Date April 2022
Page Numbers 76–89