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  • Author: Eunsun Cho
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Woodrow Wilson School Journal of Public and International Affairs
  • Institution: Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University
  • Abstract: As the unparalleled ability of big data to capture and process real-time information signals a revolution in public administration, countries around the world have begun to explore the application of the technology to government functions. At the forefront of these efforts is China, which is planning to launch the social credit system (SCS), a data-powered project to monitor, assess, and shape the behavior of all citizens and enterprises. This new frontier of digital surveillance raises questions about how the United States will incorporate data technology into its own politics and economy. This article argues that the U.S. needs a comprehensive nationwide data protection framework that places limits on surveillance by both private business and the government. Without drawing its own baseline for personal data protection, the United States risks missing the already narrowing opportunity to define its balance between democracy, security, and growth.
  • Topic: Security, Science and Technology, Democracy, Surveillance
  • Political Geography: China, Asia-Pacific, United States of America
  • Author: Ian Williams
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: For decades, China has engaged in a fervent game of “catch-up” with U.S. military capabilities. This effort, which has ballooned China’s defense spending to 620 percent of its 1990 level, is beginning to bear real fruit. While still far from achieving military parity, China’s military technology and doctrine are quickly coalescing into a coherent form of warfare, tailored to overpowering the U.S. military in a short, sharp conflict in the Eastern Pacific. This strategy of “informationized” warfare focuses first on eroding U.S. situational awareness, communications, and precision targeting capabilities.
  • Topic: Security, Science and Technology, Military Affairs, Weapons , Military Spending, Conflict, Surveillance
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Luke Patey
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Much of Europe’s attention to Asia is currently being captured by China. However, if the European Union and its member states are serious about maintaining a rules-based global order and advancing multilateralism and connectivity, it should increase its work in building partnerships across Asia, particularly in the Indo-Pacific super-region. To save multilateralism, go to the Indo-Pacific. RECOMMENDATIONS: ■ Multilateralism first. Unpack and differentiate where the United States and China support the rules-based order and where not, but also look to new trade deals and security pacts with India and Southeast Asia partners. ■ Targeted connectivity. The EU should continue to offer support to existing regional infrastructure and connectivity initiatives. ■ Work in small groups. EU unanimity on China and Indo-Pacific policy is ideal, but not always necessary to get things done. ■ Asia specialists wanted. Invest in and develop career paths for Asia specialists in foreign and defence ministries and intelligence services.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Emerging Markets, International Organization, Science and Technology, Power Politics, European Union
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Elina Sinkkonen, Jussi Lassila
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: China and Russia are jointly advancing their shared interests in the international arena and are building up cooperation in the tech sector. Despite far-reaching plans, the asymmetry of cooperation in favour of China is increasingly at odds with Russia’s national goals in digital technology. Differences in resources and standpoints are also reflected in the implementation of digital surveillance. China’s surveillance system is sophisticated and extensive whereas Russia’s is largely inconsistent and emerging, as evidenced by the fact that there was virtually no control of the internet in Russia until 2012. While advanced surveillance in authoritarian countries is worrying, technology in strategic sectors is also a key field of increasingly disconcerting great-power competition. As a result of strategic competition, the world is faced with the risk of technological decoupling, which would contribute to further fragmentation of the international community and deepening of existing rivalries.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Authoritarianism, Digital Economy, Surveillance
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Dieter Ernst
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: This special report assesses the challenges that China is facing in developing its artificial intelligence (AI) industry due to unprecedented US technology export restrictions. A central proposition is that China’s achievements in AI lack a robust foundation in leading-edge AI chips, and thus the country is vulnerable to externally imposed supply disruptions. The COVID-19 pandemic has further decoupled China from international trade and technology flows. Success in AI requires mastery of data, algorithms and computing power, which, in turn, is determined by the performance of AI chips. Increasing computing power that is cost-effective and energy-saving is the indispensable third component of this magic AI triangle. Research on China’s AI strategy has emphasized China’s huge data sets as a primary advantage. It was assumed that China could always purchase the necessary AI chips from global semiconductor industry leaders. Until recently, AI applications run by leading-edge major Chinese technology firms were powered by foreign chips, mostly designed by a small group of top US semiconductor firms. The outbreak of the technology war, however, is disrupting China’s access to advanced AI chips from the United States. Drawing on field research conducted in 2019, this report contributes to the literature by addressing China’s arguably most immediate and difficult AI challenges. The report highlights China’s challenge of competing in AI, and contrasts America’s and China’s different AI development trajectories. Capabilities and challenges are assessed, both for the large players (Huawei, Alibaba and Baidu) and for a small group of AI chip “unicorns.” The report concludes with implications for China’s future AI chip development.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Science and Technology, Sanctions, Artificial Intelligence
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia, North America
  • Author: Xu Zhangrun
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Democracy
  • Institution: National Endowment for Democracy
  • Abstract: The coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic has revealed the corruption of Chinese authoritarianism under Xi Jinping. In an unsparing critique, Tsinghua University professor Xu Zhangrun argues that Chinese governance and political culture under the Chinese Communist Party have become morally bankrupt. The Party deceived the Chinese people as the viral outbreak in Wuhan spread across China before developing into a global pandemic. Chinese officials were more concerned with censoring the internet and news of the disease to preserve Xi’s one-man rule than with protecting the people from a public-health disaster. Xu calls on his fellow citizens to reject the strongman politics of the People’s Republic in favor of greater reform and the creation of a constitutional democracy.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Authoritarianism, Democracy, Digital Economy, Accountability
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: John Lee
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: The first monograph in this series, China’s Economic Slowdown: Root Causes, Beijing’s Response and Strategic Implications for the US and Allies, examined the structural problems in the Chinese economy that have led to a recent permanent slowdown after three decades of double-digit growth rates. The monograph focused on the political and economic costs of the slowdown and efforts to stabilize an economy that has poured far too much national wealth into commercially unproductive areas. Yet the Communist Party is not passively awaiting an unhappy economic fate in connection with its mounting imbalances and domestic economic dysfunction. In many respects, its leaders have been highly creative in seeking solutions that do not entail a weakening of the party’s hold on economic power. On the contrary, the party has been busily shaping and pursuing grand strategic policies such as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and Made in China 2025 (MIC 2025) to solve or alleviate many of its domestic political-economic problems. This monograph, part two in the series, examines how the US and its allies can confront and counter these Chinese strategies and initiatives. It will do so by taking seriously the challenge they present and suggesting responses that take into account Chinese vulnerabilities and the points of leverage available to the US and its allies. This linking of China’s vulnerabilities and weaknesses, on the one hand, and its ambition and purpose with respect to its outward-focused policies, is essential for effective policy responses. If the domestic is not linked with the external, US policies are much more likely to become complacent, counterproductive, or susceptible to overreaching. In linking analyses of Beijing’s domestic political economy with its external policies, the monograph will challenge some enduring but incorrect grand narratives that play into the hands of the CCP.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economics, Science and Technology, Trade
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Thomas J. Duesterberg
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: The imperative to return supply chains to the United States for products important to national defense, medical security, and competitiveness in key industrial and technology sectors is not new. The explosive growth of the Chinese manufacturing sector, its mercantilist challenge to the world trading system, and its impact on jobs and industrial leadership in the United States is well known and well documented. This challenge has prompted new research and policies to help reverse the erosion of US supply chains. US technology leadership has been undermined by China’s forced technology transfer, theft of intellectual property, and subsidization of traditional and new higher technology sectors. In turn, the loss of global markets and US manufacturing jobs have resulted in social problems of increasing devastation to communities in industrial areas. China’s economic growth depends, in a historically unprecedented way, on its export model and the suppression of domestic consumption. This results in a cycle of overproduction, expansion of external spheres of economic influence, and dumping of products abroad. In recent years, the United States has begun to challenge the Chinese model. However, much work remains to be done to accomplish the goal of ending mercantilist practices, establishing a level playing field for US producers, and reinvigorating domestic production. Critical supply chains for US national defense and high technology leadership have become overly dependent on China and other foreign sources. The vulnerability of supply chains has been demonstrated by interruptions in supply of key materials by both natural disasters and political decisions such as Beijing’s cutoff of rare earth metals a decade ago. More recently, in July 2020, the production of critical personal protective equipment was interrupted by massive flooding in the interior of China. Beyond Beijing’s unfair practices, China is a continental economy with the ambition to displace the United States as the leader in the global economy of the 21st century and has the economies of scale to represent a serious, long term threat to US leadership and markets. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated these preexisting trends and underscores the importance of bringing industrial supply chains, including medical products, back to the United States. First, the cut-off of medical supplies, not just from China but from Europe and other allies, brought the vulnerabilities of relying on outside sourcing into clearer and more immediate focus. Ninety countries blocked the exports of medical products during the early months of the pandemic. Second, border closures around the world, even within the European Union (EU), added to the worries about supply chain interruptions, including for workers and logistics. Seventy percent of the world’s points of entry restricted foreign travelers at some point as the pandemic grew. Third, border closures and supply chain interruptions increased tensions between nations, especially between the United States and China, which was criticized for its suppression of information at the start of the pandemic. Beijing’s brazen imposition of a new security law in Hong Kong while the world was preoccupied by the pandemic further eroded its global standing, especially in Europe. Fourth, the economic collapse due to the pandemic response again focused attention on the need to create more domestic jobs, including those in the hard-hit industrial sector. Finally, all these developments led allies such as the United Kingdom, Japan, and the EU to advance new policies meant to bring production back to home territories. These trends support initiatives to increase the resiliency of domestic production, even beyond the parameters of defense and medical security.
  • Topic: Economics, Science and Technology, Manufacturing, Trade, COVID-19, Supply Chains
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Bryan Clark, Seth Cropsey, Timothy A. Walton
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: Submarines have posed a challenge to naval forces for more than a century, enabling weaker maritime powers to launch surprise attacks ashore or cut an opponent off from the sea. But submarine threats, and the difficulty of countering them, increased substantially for the United States and its allies during the past decade. The Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) is modernizing its fleet with conventional air-independent propulsion submarines (SSPs) that support its broader sensor and weapon networks. It is also fielding nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSN) and ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) capable of longer or more distant deployments. New generations of Russian Federation Navy (RFN) SSNs are difficult to track and could be employed for conventional or nuclear strikes during a conflict. Both countries are augmenting their submarine fleets with large autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) incorporating submarine like capabilities. Modern submarine technology has also proliferated, with the North Korean and Iranian navies using submarines and AUVs to level the playing field with their larger regional competitors and the United States. Unfortunately, the current US and allied approach to antisubmarine warfare (ASW) is unlikely to cope with the probable scale of undersea threats in a crisis or conflict. US Navy ASW concepts rely on fixed seabed sensors such as the Sound Surveillance System (SOSUS) or Surveillance Towed Array Sensor System (SURTASS) ships to detect and initially track submarines. Multiple maritime patrol aircraft and guided missile destroyers (DDGs) then track each adversary submarine before potentially passing it to an SSN for longerterm surveillance. This approach works when opposing submarines deploy infrequently but is likely to break down during a large-scale submarine deployment or as submarines become quieter and harder to track. When manned platforms and expendables such as sonobuoys or torpedoes run out or are needed elsewhere, ASW operations will necessarily collapse to a defensive strategy protecting high-value targets, instead of suppressing enemy submarine operations closer to the adversary’s waters. This may result in unlocated adversary submarines operating in the open ocean, where they could threaten US and allied shipping and maritime operations.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, National Security, Science and Technology, Military Affairs, Maritime, Automation, Submarines
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Bryan Clark, Dan Patt
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: US national security experts worry the United States is falling behind China in the competition for 5G mobile communication dominance. While US companies led establishment of today’s 4G networks, they are not the frontrunners in setting 5G standards, building 5G equipment, or deploying 5G infrastructure. The lead in 5G implementation belongs instead to China’s Huawei, which exploited a combination of regulatory protection, government subsidies, and capable technology to rapidly gain one-third of the global 5G market.
  • Topic: National Security, Science and Technology, Internet, 5G
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Lauren Speranza
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Tackling hybrid threats, particularly from state actors such as Russia and China, remains one of the greatest challenges for the transatlantic community. Hybrid threats have gained more traction among policymakers and publics across Europe and the United States, especially in a world with COVID-19. Over the last five years, Euro-Atlantic nations and institutions, such as NATO and the European Union (EU), have taken important steps to respond to hybrid issues. But, as hybrid threats become more prominent in the future, policymakers must move toward a more coherent, effective, and proactive strategy for countering Russian and Chinese hybrid threats. To develop such a transatlantic counter-hybrid strategy for Russia and China, this paper argues that two major things need to happen. First, transatlantic policymakers have to build a common strategic concept to guide collective thinking on hybrid threats. Second, transatlantic policymakers need to take a range of practical actions in service of that strategic concept. In a strategic concept for countering Russian and Chinese hybrid threats, Lauren Speranza offers five strategic priorities that could form the basis of this strategic concept and presents a series of constructive steps that NATO, the EU, and nations can take, in cooperation with the private sector and civil society, to enhance their counter-hybrid capabilities against Russia and China.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, NATO, Diplomacy, Politics, Science and Technology, European Union, Innovation, Resilience, Non-Traditional Threats
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Europe, Eurasia, Asia
  • Author: T. X. Hammes
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: For the last two decades, China has studied the US military, identified its key weaknesses, and developed the tactics and forces best suited to exploit those vulnerabilities. These challenges are compounded by significant deficiencies in today’s US joint force across all domains of conflict—sea, air, land, space, electronic warfare, and cyber. Proposed budgets cannot overcome those deficiencies using legacy systems. Therefore, the current US military strategy for the defense of Asia—a conventional defense of the first island chain from Japan to the Philippines, built on current air and sea platforms supported by major air and sea bases—needs to be adapted. The United States and its allies have two major advantages they can exploit—geography and emerging technologies. In Forward Defense’s inaugural report, An Affordable Defense of Asia, T.X. Hammes crafts a strategy for leveraging these advantages. Hammes makes the case that by developing novel operational concepts that take advantage of emerging technologies, while integrating these concepts into a broader Offshore Control Strategy which seeks to hold geostrategic chokepoints, the United States can improve its warfighting posture and bolster conventional deterrence. This paper advances the following arguments and recommendations. 1. The geography of the Pacific provides significant strategic, operational, and tactical advantages to a defender. 2. New operational concepts that employ emerging, relatively inexpensive technologies—including multimodal missiles, long-range air drones, smart sea mines, and unmanned naval vessels—can support an affordable defense of Asia. 3. These new technologies can and should be manufactured and fielded by US allies in the region in order to strengthen alliance relationships and improve their ability to defend themselves. 4. Autonomous weapons will be essential to an affordable defense of Asia.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: China, East Asia, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Kristine Lee, Martijn Rasser, Joshua Fitt, Coby Goldberg
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: The South Korean experience is an illustrative case study of digital entanglement with China. This paper focuses on South Korea’s 5G networks for the purposes of scoping, but the spotlight on telecommunications networks offers just one window into a broader trend of technology and economic interdependencies between Seoul and Beijing. In particular, the paper’s focus on 5G illuminates four central observations that could also apply to other technology areas: (1) the U.S.-China strategic competition has wedged South Korea between its most important ally and its largest trading partner; (2) geopolitical risk assessments are not top of mind in South Korea’s technology policymaking calculations; (3) the country’s political leadership largely defers to private industry on the use of Chinese equipment; and (4) South Korean privacy regulations remain relatively fluid and are evolving both to meet domestic pressures and to generate new market opportunities. These trends are evident in the history of South Korea’s economic entanglement with China and the risk of coercion carried with it. Ongoing entanglement with digital infrastructure—and 5G networks in particular—increases the potential for and reach of adverse economic statecraft by Beijing and will make it more difficult and costly to unravel.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Communications, Bilateral Relations, COVID-19, 5G
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, South Korea
  • Author: Kara Frederick
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating global trends in digital surveillance. Public health imperatives, combined with opportunism by autocratic regimes and authoritarian-leaning leaders, are expanding personal data collection and surveillance. This tendency toward increased surveillance is taking shape differently in repressive regimes, open societies, and the nation-states in between. China, run by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), is leading the world in using technology to enforce social control, monitor populations, and influence behavior. Part of maximizing this control depends on data aggregation and a growing capacity to link the digital and physical world in real time, where online offenses result in brisk repercussions. Further, China is increasing investments in surveillance technology and attempting to influence the patterns of technology’s global use through the export of authoritarian norms, values, and governance practices. For example, China champions its own technology standards to the rest of the world, while simultaneously peddling legislative models abroad that facilitate access to personal data by the state. Today, the COVID-19 pandemic offers China and other authoritarian nations the opportunity to test and expand their existing surveillance powers internally, as well as make these more extensive measures permanent. Global swing states are already exhibiting troubling trends in their use of digital surveillance, including establishing centralized, government-held databases and trading surveillance practices with authoritarian regimes. Amid the pandemic, swing states like India seem to be taking cues from autocratic regimes by mandating the download of government-enabled contact-tracing applications. Yet, for now, these swing states appear responsive to their citizenry and sensitive to public agitation over privacy concerns. Open societies and democracies can demonstrate global surveillance trends similar to authoritarian regimes and swing states, including the expansion of digital surveillance in the name of public safety and growing private sector capabilities to collect and analyze data on individuals. Yet these trends toward greater surveillance still occur within the context of pluralistic, open societies that feature ongoing debates about the limits of surveillance. However, the pandemic stands to shift the debate in these countries from skepticism over personal data collection to wider acceptance. Thus far, the spectrum of responses to public surveillance reflects the diversity of democracies’ citizenry and processes.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Authoritarianism, Surveillance, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, United States of America
  • Author: Martijn Rasser, Ainikki Riikonen
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: Communication networks are the central nervous system of the 21st century economy. The fifth generation of wireless—5G—will be essential to and inseparable from all we do. In many ways, we are already there. What for most was an abstract concept became all too real during the COVID-19 crisis. The coronavirus pandemic has underscored the critical importance of communication networks: They are integral to our daily lives and our ability to function economically and as a society. Shutdowns of offices, schools, and stores have meant turning to apps to work, learn, and buy. Frontline medical workers and vaccine researchers have consulted colleagues via teleconference to get the latest insight and advice on combating the virus. Being connected means resilience, coping, surviving. Getting 5G right is all the more urgent. Next-generation 5G networks will enable telemedicine, self-driving cars, and a proliferation of Internet of Things devices to fuel the future digital economy. Secure, reliable 5G networks will be essential elements of national infrastructure. Policymakers in Australia, Japan, and Vietnam understood this early on and took decisive action to secure their 5G networks. U.S. officials, slower out of the gates, are now the loudest voice on the risks of having equipment from untrusted vendors in 5G networks. The spotlight is brightest on the risks that Huawei poses to national security, including the threat of espionage or disruption. Given the Chinese Communist Party’s ability to exercise control over Huawei, there is justifiable concern over data integrity on networks that deploy Huawei equipment. More serious is the potential to use 5G equipment as a vector to cripple critical infrastructure. Such risk is not only about communications—5G will be the backbone of controls needed for power grids, water supplies, and transportation infrastructure. Despite this, the United States has had only limited success convincing its allies to join it in banning Huawei. The United States has the opportunity to regain momentum by taking a fresh approach to 5G in the aftermath of the pandemic. In addition to the broader appreciation for the criticality of reliable communication networks, Beijing’s coronavirus cover-up and clunky attempts at soft power have hardened public opinion toward China around the world. The economic fallout of the pandemic will likely slow 5G deployments globally, curtailing the urgency with which many operators approached the issue. At the same time, the first commercial projects centered on technological alternatives to the predominant 5G approach are being deployed. This confluence of events presents the United States and like-minded countries an opening to promote an alternative approach that could lead to a paradigm shift in the industry: wireless infrastructure built on a modular architecture with open interfaces. A modular architecture allows an operator to choose multiple vendors for a range of offerings, rather than being locked in with a single large integrated vendor. Open interfaces—the ability of equipment from any vendor to work with that of another—make that possible. Such a shift means upending the industry status quo that is dominated by four telecommunications equipment providers: China’s Huawei, Finland’s Nokia, Sweden’s Ericsson, and South Korea’s Samsung. Whereas other proposed responses to the Huawei dilemma and the problematic current state of competition in the telecommunications industry fiddle at the margins, switching to an industry centered on open interfaces would change the game altogether. A restructured industry based on open interfaces would directly address the prevailing concerns over untrusted vendors such as Huawei and the broader inefficiencies of the industry. There are distinct advantages to be gained in security and interoperability, supply chain resiliency, probable cost savings, and the opportunity to stimulate much-needed competition in the sector. Taken together, these advantages do much to blunt Beijing’s industrial policies that have enabled Huawei’s predatory anti-competitive practices.
  • Topic: National Security, Science and Technology, Communications, COVID-19, 5G
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Daniel Kliman, Andrea Kendall-Taylor, Kristine Lee, Joshua Fitt, Carisa Nietsche
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: The 2016 U.S. presidential election and the 2018 and 2020 Taiwanese local and presidential elections crystallized that Russia and China are using digital interference to shape the contest between democracies and autocracies. While foreign information operations are time-tested methods of authoritarian influence, the digital space has increased the scope and speed with which these operations can be waged. Although there is no concrete evidence to suggest that Beijing and Moscow explicitly coordinate their information operations, the two countries are increasingly finding common cause as their interests align on a number of issues and in strategic regions.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Science and Technology, Authoritarianism, Digital Policy
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Asia
  • Author: Daniel Kliman, Ben Fitzgerald, Kristine Lee, Joshua Fitt
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: This report presents a blueprint for a community of technology innovation and protection anchored by America and its allies. Unless the United States builds this community—an “alliance innovation base”—it will steadily lose ground in the contest with China to ascend the commanding technological heights of the 21st century. Given that technology will increasingly determine future military advantage, underpin economic prosperity, and function as a tool for promoting liberal and illiberal visions of domestic governance, the stakes could not be higher. To compete, China is leveraging its formidable scale—whether measured in terms of research and development (R&D) expenditures, data sets, scientists and engineers, venture capital, or the reach of its leading technology companies. The only way for the United States to tip the scale back in its favor is to deepen cooperation with allies. The global diffusion of innovation also places a premium on aligning U.S. and ally efforts to protect technology. Unless coordinated with allies, tougher U.S. investment screening and export control policies, for example, will feature major seams that Beijing can exploit. America’s current approach to allies on technology innovation and protection remains a work in progress. In recent years, animated by concerns about China, the United States has made a concerted effort to step up engagement with allies in both areas. Existing mechanisms for deepening innovation with allies include technology scouting programs, multilateral cooperative frameworks, rapid innovation initiatives, and bilateral projects. However, these mechanisms at times lack sufficient resourcing, move too slowly, or feature rigid constraints on participation. U.S. instruments for working with allies on technology protection also contain major points of weakness. Multilateral export control regimes, though inclusive, are ponderous. The extraterritorial reach of U.S. export control laws can generate unintended obstacles to technology collaboration with allies. Bilateral and minilateral consultations on protection lack positive incentives to motivate allies to incur immediate costs such as forgoing technology sector investments from China.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Governance, Economy, Alliance
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Amit Bhandari, Aashna Agarwal, Blaise Fernandes
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Gateway House: Indian Council on Global Relations
  • Abstract: Over the last five years, China has quietly created a significant place for itself in India – in the technology domain. While India has refused to sign on to China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), this map shows India's positioning in the virtual BRI to be strategically invaluable for China. Nearly $4 billion in venture investments in start-ups, the online ecosystem and apps have been made by Chinese entities. This is just the beginning; there is much more to come.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Business , Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Investment
  • Political Geography: China, South Asia, India, Asia
  • Author: Carla Hobbs
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: European Council On Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Covid-19 has revealed the critical importance of technology for economic and health resilience, making Europe’s digital transformation and sovereignty a question of existential importance. Rising US-China tensions are an additional incentive for Europe to develop its own digital capabilities; it risks becoming a battleground in their struggle for tech and industrial supremacy. Democratic governments – keen to preserve an open market in digital services while protecting the interests of citizens – find the European model an increasingly attractive alternative to the US and Chinese approaches. The EU cannot continue to rely on its regulatory power but must become a tech superpower in its own right. Referees do not win the game. Europe missed the first wave of technology but must take advantage of the next, in which it has competitive advantages such as in edge computing. EU member states lack a common position on tech issues or even a shared understanding of the strategic importance of digital technologies, such as on broadband rollout or application of AI.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Sovereignty, Power Politics, European Union, Artificial Intelligence, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, United States of America
  • Author: James M Dorsey
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies (BESA)
  • Abstract: The relationship between Russia and China is based on shared short-term strategic interests, but their differences lie just beneath the surface. Occasionally they erupt into the public eye, as occurred when Russia recently accused China of technology theft. The dynamic of the Russian-Chinese alliance is similar to that of Moscow’s alliances with Turkey and Iran, which also function by focusing on immediate interests and putting off serious differences as long as possible.
  • Topic: Crime, Science and Technology, Arms Trade
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Eurasia, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Jacopo Maria Pepe
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: As the coronavirus pandemic fuels technological and geopolitical competition among the great powers, Europe’s relations with China and Russia are facing new challenges and risks. Still, the reconfiguration of power in Eurasia also brings unexpected opportunities for European actors in the area of connectivity. To seize them, the EU needs to reconcile its aspiration to be a globally accepted “normative-regulatory” power with both its limited financial means and its more assertive attitude to geopolitics.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, European Union, Geopolitics, Strategic Competition, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Europe, Eurasia, Asia
  • Author: Choong Yong Ahn
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Korea Economic Institute of America (KEI)
  • Abstract: India and South Korea, Asia’s third- and fourth-largest economies, respectively, established a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) in 2010 and upgraded their relationship to a special strategic partnership in 2015. South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s “New Southern” policy and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Act East” policy share important objectives and values through which Korea and India can maximize their potential to pursue high tech-oriented, win-win growth. Both countries face the great challenge of diversifying their economic partners in their respective geo-economic domains amid newly emerging international geo-economic dynamics as well as rapidly changing Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies. Given the two countries’ excessive dependence on the Chinese market and potential risks and uncertainties involved in the U.S.-China trade war and related security conflicts, South Korea and India need to deepen bilateral linkages in trade, investment, and cultural contacts. South Korea-India cooperation is crucial in promoting plurilateralism, prosperity, and harmony in East Asia. This paper suggests a specific action agenda to fulfill mutual commitments as entailed in the “Special Strategic Partnership” between these two like-minded countries of South Korea and India.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Science and Technology, Bilateral Relations, Industry
  • Political Geography: United States, China, South Asia, India, Asia, South Korea, Korea
  • Author: John Seaman
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institut français des relations internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: From emerging technological fields such as 5G, artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT) and smart cities to traditional sectors including energy, health care, railways and agriculture, China is increasingly proactive in nearly every domain where technical standards remain to be developed and set. Technical standards are the definition of processes or technical specifications designed to improve the quality, security and compatibility of various goods and services, for instance GSM for telecommunications or WiFi for wireless Internet. They can be thought of as basic specifications or technologies on which other technologies or methods will evolve – creating lock-in effects and path-dependency for future products and technological trajectories. Defining standards can provide significant benefits for society at large, but can also carry significant implications for which technologies will dominate future markets and provide substantial advantages to those who master standardized technologies. Chinese policymakers have become keenly aware of the relationship between technical standard-setting and economic power. Indeed, a popular saying in China posits that third-tier companies make products, second-tier companies make technology, first-tier companies make standards. In 2015, the State Council highlighted China’s deficiencies in the field and set out to transform the country’s standardization system, seeking to harness the capacity of standard setting not only to improve the daily lives of its citizens, but to drive innovation, boost China’s economic transformation toward the industries of the future, and turn China into a premier purveyor of international technical standards.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Communications, Multilateralism, Standardization
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Asia, United States of America
  • Author: Ian Easton, Mark Stokes, Yang Kuang-shun, Eric Lee, Colby Ferland
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Project 2049 Institute
  • Abstract: Unmanned systems are likely to transform the Taiwan Strait battle space in the coming years. The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has fielded a large and increasingly sophisticated force of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) opposite Taiwan. This underscores the importance of exploiting advanced unmanned systems to deter opportunistic acts of aggression, and to defeat the PLA’s potential use of force in the event that deterrence should fail. This report examines the current state and trajectory of Taiwan’s indigenous UAV capabilities, and illuminates the role UAVs play within both Taiwan’s defense strategy and the American-led Indo-Pacific security network more broadly. In addition, this report evaluates the PLA’s organizational infrastructure designed for a Taiwan campaign, discusses cross-Strait political-military challenges, and highlights future opportunities to expand U.S.-Taiwan military and security cooperation as part of long-term strategic competition with the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Science and Technology, Military Strategy, Infrastructure
  • Political Geography: China, Taiwan, United States of America
  • Author: Jake Wallis, Tom Uren, Elise Thomas, Albert Zhang, Samantha Hoffman, Lin Li, Alex Pascoe, Danielle Cave
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Australian Strategic Policy Institute
  • Abstract: This report analyses a persistent, large-scale influence campaign linked to Chinese state actors on Twitter and Facebook. This activity largely targeted Chinese-speaking audiences outside of the Chinese mainland (where Twitter is blocked) with the intention of influencing perceptions on key issues, including the Hong Kong protests, exiled Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui and, to a lesser extent Covid-19 and Taiwan. Extrapolating from the takedown dataset, to which we had advanced access, given to us by Twitter, we have identified that this operation continues and has pivoted to try to weaponise the US Government’s response to current domestic protests and create the perception of a moral equivalence with the suppression of protests in Hong Kong.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Internet, Social Media, COVID-19, Misinformation , Twitter
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Alex Joske
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Australian Strategic Policy Institute
  • Abstract: What’s the problem? The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is strengthening its influence by co-opting representatives of ethnic minority groups, religious movements, and business, science and political groups. It claims the right to speak on behalf of those groups and uses them to claim legitimacy. These efforts are carried out by the united front system, which is a network of party and state agencies responsible for influencing groups outside the party, particularly those claiming to represent civil society. It manages and expands the United Front, a coalition of entities working towards the party’s goals.1 The CCP’s role in this system’s activities, known as united front work, is often covert or deceptive.2 The united front system’s reach beyond the borders of the People’s Republic of China (PRC)—such as into foreign political parties, diaspora communities and multinational corporations—is an exportation of the CCP’s political system.3 This undermines social cohesion, exacerbates racial tension, influences politics, harms media integrity, facilitates espionage, and increases unsupervised technology transfer. General Secretary Xi Jinping’s reinvigoration of this system underlines the need for stronger responses to CCP influence and technology-transfer operations around the world. However, governments are still struggling to manage it effectively and there is little publicly available analysis of the united front system. This lack of information can cause Western observers to underestimate the significance of the united front system and to reduce its methods into familiar categories. For example, diplomats might see united front work as ‘public diplomacy’ or ‘propaganda’ but fail to appreciate the extent of related covert activities. Security officials may be alert to criminal activity or espionage while underestimating the significance of open activities that facilitate it. Analysts risk overlooking the interrelated facets of CCP influence that combine to make it effective.4 What’s the solution? Governments should disrupt the CCP’s capacity to use united front figures and groups as vehicles for covert influence and technology transfer. They should begin by developing analytical capacity for understanding foreign interference. On that basis, they should issue declaratory policy statements that frame efforts to counter it. Countermeasures should involve law enforcement, legislative reform, deterrence and capacity building across relevant areas of government. Governments should mitigate the divisive effect united front work can have on communities through engagement and careful use of language. Law enforcement, while critically important, shouldn’t be all or even most of the solution. Foreign interference often takes place in a grey area that’s difficult to address through law enforcement actions. Strengthening civil society and media must be a fundamental part of protecting against interference. Policymakers should make measures to raise the transparency of foreign influence a key part of the response
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Science and Technology, Foreign Interference, Chinese Communist Party (CCP)
  • Political Geography: China, Australia, Australia/Pacific
  • Author: Emile Dirks, James Leibold
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Australian Strategic Policy Institute
  • Abstract: What’s the problem? The Chinese Government is building the world’s largest police-run DNA database in close cooperation with key industry partners across the globe. Yet, unlike the managers of other forensic databases, Chinese authorities are deliberately enrolling tens of millions of people who have no history of serious criminal activity. Those individuals (including preschool-age children) have no control over how their samples are collected, stored and used. Nor do they have a clear understanding of the potential implications of DNA collection for them and their extended families. Earlier Chinese Government DNA collection campaigns focused on Tibet and Xinjiang, but, beginning in late 2017, the Ministry of Public Security expanded the dragnet across China, targeting millions of men and boys with the aim to ‘comprehensively improve public security organs’ ability to solve cases, and manage and control society’.1 This program of mass DNA data collection violates Chinese domestic law and global human rights norms. And, when combined with other surveillance tools, it will increase the power of the Chinese state and further enable domestic repression in the name of stability maintenance and social control. Numerous biotechnology companies are assisting the Chinese police in building this database and may find themselves complicit in these violations. They include multinational companies such as US-based Thermo Fisher Scientific and major Chinese companies like AGCU Scientific and Microread Genetics. All these companies have an ethical responsibility to ensure that their products and processes don’t violate the fundamental human rights and civil liberties of Chinese citizens. What’s the solution? The forensic use of DNA has the potential to solve crimes and save lives; yet it can also be misused and reinforce discriminatory law enforcement and authoritarian political control. The Chinese Government and police must end the compulsory collection of biological samples from individuals without records of serious criminal wrongdoing, destroy all samples already collected, and remove all DNA profiles not related to casework from police databases. China must enact stringent restrictions on the collection, storage, use and transfer of human genomic data. The Chinese Government must also ensure that it adheres to the spirit of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966), the International Declaration on Human Genetic Data (2003), the Universal Declaration on the Human Genome and Human Rights (1997) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989), as well as China’s own Criminal Law (2018). National and international legal experts have condemned previous efforts to enrol innocent civilians and children in forensic DNA databases, and the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy should investigate the Chinese Government’s current collection program for any violations of international law and norms.2 Foreign governments must strengthen export controls on biotechnology and related intellectual property and research data that’s sold to or shared with the Chinese Government and its domestic public and private partners. Chinese and multinational companies should conduct due diligence and independent audits to ensure that their forensic DNA products and processes are not being used in ways that violate the human and civil rights of Chinese citizens.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Minorities, Surveillance, Chinese Communist Party (CCP), DNA
  • Political Geography: China, Australia, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: Vicky Xiuzhong Xu, Danielle Cave, James Leibold, Kelsey Munro, Nathan Ruser
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Australian Strategic Policy Institute
  • Abstract: The Chinese government has facilitated the mass transfer of Uyghur and other ethnic minority1 citizens from the far west region of Xinjiang to factories across the country. Under conditions that strongly suggest forced labour, Uyghurs are working in factories that are in the supply chains of at least 82 well-known global brands in the technology, clothing and automotive sectors, including Apple, BMW, Gap, Huawei, Nike, Samsung, Sony and Volkswagen. This report estimates that more than 80,000 Uyghurs were transferred out of Xinjiang to work in factories across China between 2017 and 2019, and some of them were sent directly from detention camps.2 The estimated figure is conservative and the actual figure is likely to be far higher. In factories far away from home, they typically live in segregated dormitories,3 undergo organised Mandarin and ideological training outside working hours,4 are subject to constant surveillance, and are forbidden from participating in religious observances.5 Numerous sources, including government documents, show that transferred workers are assigned minders and have limited freedom of movement.6 China has attracted international condemnation for its network of extrajudicial ‘re-education camps’ in Xinjiang.7 This report exposes a new phase in China’s social re-engineering campaign targeting minority citizens, revealing new evidence that some factories across China are using forced Uyghur labour under a state-sponsored labour transfer scheme that is tainting the global supply chain.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Science and Technology, Labor Issues, Minorities, Business , Uyghurs
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, Australia
  • Author: Maya Guzdar, Tomas Jermalavicius
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: International Centre for Defence and Security - ICDS
  • Abstract: In the course of 2018-20, development of Fifth Generation (5G) communication networks has been increasingly influenced by the considerations of national security and geopolitics. The largest provider of 5G equipment, the Chinese mobile telecom giant Huawei, has come under fire from the U.S., Czechia, Poland, and other nations in recent years for attempted espionage, theft of intellectual property and other nefarious activities; in the past month, UK decided to ban Huawei technology from its networks. All this comes into sharp focus as the geopolitical confrontation between Washington and Beijing reaches new heights. However, China is one of the EU’s largest trading partners and has worked to establish its economic, political, and cultural influence in various Member States. The EU and NATO have both released standards for member states must use when gauging the security of potential 5G networks. Yet, the EU in particular has not enacted a blanket ban or sweeping restrictions on the Chinese 5G equipment providers, leaving the tradeoffs between national security, technological progress and cost-efficiency to individual states. Although the Baltic states are well-versed in dealing with cybersecurity challenges, their road to 5G development is going to be complex. Whole-of-society awareness, political diligence, technical competence, regional cooperation, and resilience to Beijing’s influence operations are needed in forging a clear path to 5G that is aligned with their key geopolitical interest—maintaining their close strategic alliance with the United States. This brief aims to explore the geopolitical factors at play in determining the Baltic states’ 5G policy and regulations, with a particular focus on the EU, U.S., and China’s influence. It also provides a short of overview of the state of current 5G networks and regulations in the Baltic states while identifying challenges that the region will face in the coming years.
  • Topic: Security, NATO, Science and Technology, European Union, Cybersecurity, Resilience, 5G
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America, Baltic States
  • Author: Frank Jüris
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: International Centre for Defence and Security - ICDS
  • Abstract: China’s influence activities aim to create a positive image of China and to counter any kind of criticism. Influence activities in countries with big Chinese communities can mobilise the Chinese diaspora for the party’s benefit—there are plenty of examples from Finland and Sweden. But where this is not possible, propaganda work may fall to the CPC Central Committee’s International Liaison Department, which is responsible for exchanges with foreign parties. The International Liaison Department has been active in its interactions with Estonian politicians. Today, three former government ministers work for Powerhouse, which offers lobbying services for the Chinese company, Huawei. To a large extent, China’s influence activities in Estonia have so far gone unnoticed. This article aims to fill this gap.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Science and Technology, 5G
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, Estonia, Baltic States
  • Author: Kadri Kaska, Maria Tolppa
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Centre for Defence and Security - ICDS
  • Abstract: Increasingly, China’s expanding role in the evolution and development of both the global economy and digital technologies must be acknowledged. A vivid example of this is the active debate over the development of 5G networks over the past few years, in which countries increasingly understand that the impact of new technologies on national security interests must be taken into account when they are implemented. Recent amendments to the Electronic Communications Act in Estonia will create a basis for managing such security risks in our country. Major conceptual difference is that China treats the internet above all as an information space that, to be protected from “subverting state power, undermining national unity [or] infringing upon national honour and interests”, must be strictly organised and controlled by the government.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Governance, Cybersecurity, Internet, Economy
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Kulani Abendroth-Dias, Carolin Kiefer
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Women In International Security (WIIS)
  • Abstract: For delivery within the European Union, Amazon now sells facial recognition cameras for door locks, webcams, home security systems, and office attendance driven by artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML)—powerful tools with civilian and military purposes. Germany, France, Spain, Denmark and Romania have tested and often deployed AI and ML facial recognition tools, many of which were developed in the United States and China, for predictive policing and border control. AI and ML systems aid in contact tracing and knowledge sharing to contain the COVID-19 virus. However, the civilian and military strategies that drive use of AI and ML for the collection and use of data diverge across the member states of the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
  • Topic: NATO, Science and Technology, Artificial Intelligence, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Europe
  • Author: Naďa Kovalčíková, Gabrielle Tarin
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Women In International Security (WIIS)
  • Abstract: The rise of China poses a strategic challenge for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The Alliance needs a comprehensive political, economic, and security strategy to deal with China’s growing global power. The more assertive a role China plays in world affairs, the more it could undercut NATO’s cohesion and military advantages by translating commercial inroads in Europe into political influence, investing in strategically important sectors, and achieving major breakthroughs in advanced digital technologies.
  • Topic: NATO, Science and Technology, International Security, Digital Cooperation , Digital Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Europe