China’s Surveillance State and Its Global Implications

China’s Surveillance State and Its Global Implications

Deep Dives: China 2023 Program

Tuesday, May 9, 2023 | 12:00 PM – 1:15 PM ET


In late 2022, mass demonstrations broke out in China against the Zero Covid Policy. In a rare move, the Chinese government acknowledged these acts of dissent by relaxing Covid restrictions. However, despite this concession, there were many reports of protesters being tracked down with the help of an advanced state surveillance system and severely punished, with aggressive interrogations and threats to families. What are the politics of human rights and dissent in contemporary China, given the recent advancements in surveillance technology? What other countries are implementing China’s model of digital authoritarianism? Please join us on Tuesday, May 9 from 12 PM to 1:15 PM ET for a discussion with Dr. Emile Dirks, Research Associate at University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab, Bulelani Jili, Meta Research Ph.D. Fellow at Harvard University, and Maya Wang, associate director in the Asia division at Human Rights Watch. This webinar is the sixth virtual session of Network 20/20’s Deep Dives: China program.


COULDN’T ATTEND OUR EVENT? Don’t worry. You can watch it below







Dr. Emile Dirks

Dr. Emile Dirks is a Research Associate at the Citizen Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy (University of Toronto), where he explores state surveillance, policing and civil society in China. His research on mass biometric surveillance in China has been covered by The New York Times, VICE, and The Intercept, among other publications. He completed his PhD in Political Science at the University of Toronto in 2022.

Bulelani Jili

Bulelani Jili is a Meta Research Ph.D. Fellow at Harvard University. His research interests include Africa-China relations; US-China competition; Cybersecurity; ICT development; Internet Policy; Chinese Business Law; Law and Development; and Privacy Law. He is also a Visiting Fellow at Yale Law School; a Fellow at the Atlantic Council; Cybersecurity Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School; Scholar-in-residence at the Electronic Privacy Information Center. He has also advised leading think tanks, governments, and watchdogs like the American Bar Association, Atlantic Council, Freedom House, UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, US state department, and the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Maya Wang

Maya Wang is the associate director in the Asia division at Human Rights Watch. Wang has researched and written extensively on a wide range of issues in China including the use of torture, arbitrary detention, human rights defenders, civil society, disability rights, and women’s rights. She is also an expert on human rights in Hong Kong, Xinjiang and Tibet. In recent years, her original research on China’s use of technology for mass surveillance, including the use of biometrics, artificial intelligence, and big data, has helped galvanize international attention on these developments in China and globally.

Wang has been frequently quoted by international media and has published on major outlets, including the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and the Foreign Affairs.

Wang is also on the board of the DC-based non-profit Hong Kong Democracy Council, and was named one of 100 Brilliant Women in AI Ethics in 2021.




About the Program

The goal of Network 20/20’s Deep Dives is to provide multi-layered and informative discussions encompassing a critical topic in geopolitics–in this case the rise of China–through a series of briefings with high-level experts. For the first time ever, we are excited to announce that this year’s Deep Dives: China will be virtual to widen the scope of participation for individuals from all around the world.

This is the fifth session of a total of six dynamic virtual sessions and two discussion groups, participants will have the unique opportunity to learn from and interact with experts and other participants, and refine their knowledge on China and its growing impact on the world. The framing question for this year’s Deep Dives: China is, “How can we understand China’s objectives at home and abroad?”

Learn More About Deep Dives: China 2023





We are trying our best to keep our community informed about foreign affairs, and we would appreciate if you can support us to keep this virtual briefing series going. No amount is too small.

Photo Credit: Dida Tech

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