Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, published a report on digital authoritarianism in the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). 

The report, titled The New Big Brother: China and Digital Authoritarianism, published by Bob Menendez, was presented as the result of an exhaustive investigation by the committee into the CCP’s efforts to develop, export, and institutionalize a new model of authoritarian government for the digital domain.  

In a publicly accessible webcast, Menendez presented the report along with a panel of expert panelists in the field. 

Menendez noted his concern, identifying it as a “concerted effort to develop, expand, export, and institutionalize digital authoritarianism as the future governance model of the digital domain represents a fundamental political, economic, and security concern for the United States, our allies and partners, and the international community at large.”

He added, “China is seeking to exploit new and emerging technologies to cultivate digital authoritarianism along multiple paths and is utilizing its entire policy toolkit, including political, economic, diplomatic, and coercive means, to shape the digital domain in its desired image. If successful, China [the CCP]—and not the United States and other like-minded nations—will be writing the future of cyberspace.”

The report alleges that the CCP is using its technological, computer and telecommunication advances to deepen ongoing human rights abuses by monitoring, suppressing, and manipulating its own citizens. The report details how facial recognition technology and big data analysis tools are being used to identify, discriminate against, imprison and re-educate different persecuted groups such as the Uighur Muslim minority and practitioners of the spiritual discipline Falun Gong, creating a police state that ignores human rights and civil liberties. 

During his presentation, Menendez also called on U.S. politicians and citizens to build new alliances with people who share our values, understanding and accusing the CCP of having been very effective in dividing and conquering the democracies in which we live and trust.

The research conducted by the Democratic bloc offers an interesting insight into how the Chinese Communist Party makes use of new technologies to achieve greater control over its population and in turn strengthen its ties with other nations. 

The Trump administration has repeatedly expressed concern about the advance of cybersurveillance by the CCP. It has even pressed other countries to ban Huawei from their mobile networks. And it is currently considering banning some Chinese technology companies like TikTok.

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