The Belt and Road in Global Perspective

The Politics of Surveillance Infrastructure in the Economy of Global China: Origins, Capacities and Adaptation

April 1, 2022 | 3:30PM - 5:00PM
Belt & Road, Centre for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (CERES), East Asia, Technology & society

This event is over

This talk considered the origins and potentials of Chinese-built security projects around the world in places such as Cambodia, Malaysia, Nigeria and Ecuador. By considering the securitization of Xinjiang as a limit case for global China security projects and the way Chinese military operations in North Africa figure in discourses, theorization and technologies used in Xinjiang, the talk examined the history and capacities of Chinese-built security infrastructure. Drawing on these examples, it considered some of the emergent patterns and trends that appear through the privatization and export of Chinese-built surveillance systems and dataveillance tools. Ultimately, the talk problematized assumptions concerning the actualization of the transfer of authoritarian politics through infrastructure.

Anthropologist Darren Byler is Assistant Professor of International Studies at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, British Columbia. He is the author of Terror Capitalism: Uyghur Dispossession and Masculinity in a Chinese City (Duke University Press 2022) and In the Camps: China’s High-Tech Penal Colony (Columbia Global Reports 2021). His current research interests are focused on infrastructure development and global China.

Sponsored by The Belt and Road in Global Perspective. Co-sponsored by Asian Institute.

Watch the event on the CERES YouTube channel
Belt & Road, Centre for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (CERES), East Asia, Technology & society


Ed Schatz

Professor of Political Science and Director of the Eurasia Initiative, University of Toronto

Darren Byler

Associate Professor, Simon Fraiser University