søndag 21. april 2024

China: The rise of digital repression in the Indo-Pacific

China continues to export its digital authoritarianism playbook across the Indo-Pacific, reveals ARTICLE 19’s new report.

In October 2023, at the third Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, China’s leader Xi Jinping signalled his intention to focus away from the more grandiose legacy projects of the Belt and Road Initiative in favour of ‘small yet smart’ projects. This acknowledgement of Party priorities reiterates the need to better understand the scope of China’s global ambitions to reshape digital governance – away from an open, free and interoperable internet, in favour of a model based on government control and mass surveillance.

The Digital Silk Road: China and the rise of digital repression in the Indo-Pacific examines China’s digital infrastructure and governance influence in four countries: Cambodia, Malaysia, Nepal and Thailand. Because the Indo-Pacific will retain its strategic significance for China as it rolls out next-generation tech and seeks partners in normalising its authoritarian approach to digital governance, the report argues that assessing China’s regional partnerships and what they mean for rising digital repression in the region is vital to understanding China’s ambitions to rewire the world and rewrite the rules that govern the digital space.