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China promotes authoritarianism in developing countries

China promotes authoritarianism in developing countries
China promotes authoritarianism in developing countries

 


China has held seminars and training courses for officials from African and Latin American countries, aimed at promoting its one-party system and President Xi Jinping's worldview, according to a report this week.

Xi Jinping, President of the People's Republic of China, speaks at the United Nations Office at Geneva on January 18, 2017. Photo: Jean-Marc Ferr/UN Geneva, via Flickr CC2.0.Xi Jinping, President of the People's Republic of China, speaks at the United Nations Office at Geneva on January 18, 2017. Photo: Jean-Marc Ferr/UN Geneva, via Flickr CC2.0.
Xi Jinping, President of the People's Republic of China, speaks at the United Nations Office at Geneva on January 18, 2017. Photo: Jean-Marc Ferr/UN Geneva, via Flickr CC2.0.

One of the central pillars of Xi's regime has been the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a massive infrastructure project that China is using to expand its influence overseas by granting expensive loans to developing countries. development.

A report released Thursday by a Washington-based think tank details efforts to promote one-party rule and Xi's thinking to BRI partners in parts of Africa, Latin America and beyond, drawing on hundreds of publicly available documents from China's Ministry of Commerce.

The documents “clearly highlight aspects of the (Chinese) authoritarian model that are essential to the successful development model that others can emulate,” wrote the author of the Atlantic Council report, Niva Yau, a fellow non-authoritarian. -resident.

Among the initiatives listed was an online seminar for presidential advisers and ministerial officials from developing countries, aimed at expanding “the international influence of China's… system of governance.”

According to the ministry document cited by the report, the seminar organized in June 2021 aimed “to present President Xi Jinping's thoughts on national governance, China's current political system, political life and the characteristics of the decision-making process. decision for fundamental policies”.

He also encouraged China's efforts in “social mobilization and management” during the Covid-19 pandemic, which has seen millions of people placed under strict and prolonged lockdown.

Another training program, aimed at African officials involved in urban planning, focused on China's ubiquitous surveillance system.

According to a document cited by the report, the program aimed to educate on managing “public safety through information technology” in cities.

China is one of the most monitored societies in the world, and critics say facial recognition technology is widely used in everything from everyday law enforcement to political repression.

The report also details a course for officials from BRI countries who promote China's media and propaganda operations.

United Nations Secretary-General Antnio Guterres addresses the Belt and Road Initiative International Cooperation Forum in Beijing on May 14, 2017. Photo: United Nations Photo/Zhao Yun, via Flickr CC2.0 .United Nations Secretary-General Antnio Guterres addresses the Belt and Road Initiative International Cooperation Forum in Beijing on May 14, 2017. Photo: United Nations Photo/Zhao Yun, via Flickr CC2.0 .
United Nations Secretary-General Antnio Guterres addresses the Belt and Road Initiative International Cooperation Forum in Beijing on May 14, 2017. Photo: United Nations Photo/Zhao Yun, via Flickr CC2.0 .

“Through a multi-angle and comprehensive presentation of China's experience in new media development, the seminar analyzes Chinese theories of media integration and innovation in the context of Covid-19,” says a document cited by the report.

The course also examined “the practice of news writing, program creation, and the collection of material applicable to new media platforms.”

All programs were taught by academics from top Chinese institutions as well as civil servants, according to the documents.

China is “engaged in a concerted effort to promote authoritarian governance in the developing world,” the report’s author said.

China's Foreign Ministry did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

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