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Visibility, virtuality, and mass surveillance in China

In a Chinese-style public-private initiative, China's new social credit system uses Big Data not only to surveil people's everyday economic, social, cultural and political activities, but also to reward  'good' behaviour, and punish 'bad' behaviour. Although it seems to be an extension of financial credit rating schemes, it raises the important political issue of who gets to decide what is good and bad for China, what values this high tech scheme is promoting, and who it is excluding.

 

 

William A. Callahan is Professor of International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science. His research examines the interplay of culture and policy in China and Asia, and considers the overlap of domestic and international politics, especially in Chinese foreign policy. His most recent book is China Dreams: 20 Views of the Future (Oxford University Press, 2013), and his documentary films include ‘Mearsheimer vs. Nye on the Rise of China’ (2015), which is on TheDiplomat.com, and ‘toilet adventures’ (2015), which was shortlisted for a major award by the UK's Arts and Humanities Research Council, and 'China Bound, 1964' (2018). He is currently working on a book project ‘Visualizing International Politics’, and a short documentary film, 'Great Walls'.