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Critical Issues Confronting China featuring Minxin Pei – Surveillance in a Leninist Party-State: Understanding China’s Preventive Repression
February 28 @ 12:00 pm – 1:15 pm
Speaker: Minxin Pei, Tom and Margot Pritzker ’72 Professor of Government and George R. Roberts Fellow, Claremont McKenna College
China’s surveillance state has attracted much attention in the media, but there is little serious research on its organization, scope, and operational tactics. Evidence gathered from hundreds of local yearbooks and police gazettes shows that the backbone of China’s surveillance state is an extensive network of informants and labor-intensive surveillance tactics which are made possible and run effectively by the Party’s Leninist organizational structure. The adoption of hi-tech surveillance came relatively late – probably around 2010. The Chinese Leninist party-state has the organizational capacity unmatched by other forms of dictatorship in building and maintaining an extensive and labor-intensive network of surveillance to implement preventive repression against potential threats. Hi-tech capabilities strengthen such surveillance, but do not and cannot substitute the underlying organizational structure.