China’s bigger brother

Charles Parton charts Beijing’s ambitious use of big data, artificial intelligence and facial recognition to control its people

The World Today Updated 26 January 2021 Published 3 August 2018 5 minute READ

Charles Parton

Associate fellow, Royal United Services Institute and specialist adviser on China to the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee

Chairman Mao talked of ‘three magic weapons’ for seizing power: the united front, the armed struggle and construction of the Communist Party itself. Now the priority is remaining in power and to ensure that, the party is developing a fourth ‘magic weapon’.

By combining big data, artificial intelligence, recognition technology and other police techniques, it intends to create a comprehensive method of political and social control. This threatens not only to change Chinese society radically, but also to affect the wider world.

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