Skip to content

Daly Discusses the Protests in China on CNN

November 30, 2022


Robert Daly

Robert Daly

Mass protests swept China last week with thousands taking to the streets to vent their anger over the country’s tough zero-Covid policy—some calling for greater democracy and freedom in an extraordinary show of dissent against Chinese leader Xi Jinping.

Robert Daly, adjunct professor in the Maxwell-in-Washington program and director of the Wilson Center’s Kissinger Institute on China and the United States, says China is moving from authoritarianism to techno-totalitarianism.

"Xi Jingping is now using high vision cameras all over China which are linked up to artificial intelligence systems using big data such that they can look at a crowd in China, scan a crowd with a camera and know who is there, know who they're speaking to on their social media, know where they live, know what they buy," says Daly.

"And they're also getting involved in what's called predictive policing—looking at things like posture and other physical signals that somebody might be seen as dangerous—to exercise ever more total control over China. That's what I mean by techno-totalitarianism," he says.

"It's the surveillance state. It's one of the things that the Chinese are quite fed up with," Daly says. "They're afraid that post-COVID, the government will continue to track their actions as they have during the pandemic, although not this time for the sake of their health but just to make sure they are towing the party line," he says.

Watch the full interview on CNN's "The Lead with Jake Tapper."

Communications and Media Relations Office
200 Eggers Hall