Is China a Surveillance State? Old and New Control Tactics

March 10, 2023 | 4:00PM - 5:00PM
Asian Institute, East Asia Seminar Series, East Asia

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This is an online event.
China’s surveillance reach is global.  With police stations being set up abroad, election interference in Canada, and spy balloons, how are we to make sense of China as a surveillance state?  Join journalists and researchers for a dynamic discussion of China as a surveillance state: the benign, the malign, and the ugly implications for Canada and the democratic world.  
Josh Chin is deputy bureau chief responsible for politics and general news in The Wall Street Journal's China bureau. Prior to his current role, Josh spent six years as a politics reporter in China covering law, civil society, and government use of technology. He is a recipient of the Dan Bolles Medal and led an investigative team that won the Gerald Loeb Award for international reporting in 2018. He is the co-author, with Journal reporter Liza Lin, of "Surveillance State: Inside China’s Quest to Launch a New Era of Social Control" (2022, St. Martin’s Press).
Josh started reporting for the Journal in 2008 as a freelance video journalist in Beijing and also spent several years editing the newspaper’s China blog. He began his career an editorial assistant at the Park Record, in Park City, Utah.
Emile Dirks is a Research Associate at the Citizen Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy. His research on police-led mass biometric surveillance in China has been covered by The New York Times, The Economist, and The Intercept, among other publications. He completed his PhD in Political Science from the University of Toronto in 2022.
Dahlia Peterson is a Research Analyst at Georgetown University’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology (CSET). Her research work focuses on how China harnesses predictive policing algorithms and facial, voice, and gait recognition technologies for AI-powered surveillance programs within its own borders and abroad. At CSET, she also studies how China is developing its artificial intelligence education and workforce pipelines. Her work has been published by the Brookings Institution, The Diplomat, The Hill, The National Interest, and Routledge. She has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, and WIRED, among others. Prior to joining CSET she worked for the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, the U.S. State Department’s Virtual Student Federal Service, and the Foreign Commercial Service at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing. She holds a B.A. in Economics and Chinese Language with a minor in China Studies from the University of California, Berkeley and an M.A. in Security Studies from Georgetown University.
Sponsor: East Asia Seminar Series at the Asian Institute
Asian Institute, East Asia Seminar Series, East Asia
Dasha Kuznetsova


Josh Chin photo
Josh Chin

Deputy Bureau Chief, China, The Wall Street Journal

Dahlia Peterson photo
Dahlia Peterson

Research Analyst at the Center for Security and Emerging Technology (CSET), Georgetown University

Emile Dirks photo
Emile Dirks (discussant)

Research Associate, The Citizen Lab, Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy, University of Toronto

Colour image of Asian Institute's Diana Fu
Diana Fu (moderator)

Associate Professor of Political Science and the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy; Director of the East Asia Seminar Series, Asian Institute, Munk School, University of Toronto