Book Talk: Book Talk: The Sentinel State: Surveillance and the Survival of Dictatorship in China

March 5, 2024 | 1:00PM - 2:00PM
Asian Institute, Munk School

This event is over

'Munk Centre For International Studies - 1 Devonshire Place
For decades China watchers argued that economic liberalization and increasing prosperity would bring democracy to the world’s most populous country. Instead, the Communist Party’s grip on power has only strengthened. Why? The answer, Minxin Pei argues, lies in the effectiveness of the Chinese surveillance state. And the source of that effectiveness is not just advanced technology like facial recognition AI and mobile phone tracking. These are important, but what matters more is China’s vast, labor-intensive infrastructure of domestic spying. While today’s system is far more robust than that of years past, it is modeled after mass surveillance implemented under Mao Zedong and Chinese emperors centuries ago. Rigorously empirical and rich in historical insight, The Sentinel State is a singular contribution to our knowledge about coercion in the Chinese state and, more generally, the survival strategies of authoritarian regimes.
About the Author:
Minxin Pei is the author of several books on Chinese domestic politics, including China’s Crony Capitalism: The Dynamics of Regime Decay and China’s Trapped Transition: The Limits of Developmental Autocracy. He is the Tom and Margot Pritzker ’72 Professor of Government and George R. Roberts Fellow at Claremont McKenna College.
This event is sponsored by the Asian Institute and the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy
Asian Institute, Munk School


headshot of Minxin Pei
Minxin Pei

Tom and Margot Pritzker ’72 Professor of Government and George R. Roberts Fellow, Claremont McKenna College

Lynette Ong - photo by Riley Stewart
Lynette Ong

Professor, Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy and Department of Political Science, University of Toronto