DIGHUM Talk Series: Transition From Labor-intensive to Tech-intensive Surveillance in China

Event Start Date: Tuesday, November 16, 2021 - 5:00 pm

Event End Date: Tuesday, November 16, 2021 - 6:00 pm

Location: Streamed Online

In the post-Tiananmen period, the Chinese government has devoted enormous resources to the construction of a surveillance state. The initial efforts were directed at building organizational networks and coordination mechanisms to monitor a large number of individuals deemed threats to the rule of the Communist Party and public safety. Due to the lack of technological resources, the surveillance state in the 1990s was labor-intensive but highly effective. The Chinese government developed sophisticated surveillance tactics to monitor individuals and public venues even without hi-tech equipment. The transition to tech-intensive surveillance began at the end of the 1990s and accelerated in the 2010s due to the availability of new technologies and the generous funding from the state. Yet, despite the adoption of hi-tech tools, the Chinese surveillance state remains a labor-intensive and organization-intensive system. The unrivaled organizational capacity of the Communist Party, not new fancy technology, is the secret of the effectiveness of the Chinese surveillance stateDIGHUM Lecture Series: Minxin Pei, Moderation: Susan J. Winter

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