Belt and road initiative – China’s global expansion of its surveillance state
(See minute 45: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lzbAOE4qfDw)
Through its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), China has exported its surveillance to 60 countries worldwide, including Venezuela, Myanmar and Zimbabwe, just to name a few. According to a report by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, titled The Global Expansion of AI Surveillance, “a growing consensus singles out China as a global driver of “authoritarian tech.” Experts claim that Chinese companies are working directly with Chinese state authorities to export ‘authoritarian tech’ to like-minded governments in order to spread influence and promote an alternative governance model.” The report acknowledges that this is certainly true in the case of Zimbabwe and Venezuela that are both guilty of gross human rights violations. But it adds China “is exporting surveillance tech to liberal democracies as much as it is targeting authoritarian markets.” (See page 13-15 of the report here). Belt and Road News describes the findings of the report as follows: “The report by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace was released amidst concerns that authoritarian regimes would be making use of the technology for boosting their power, as well as, the data could be sent back to China.”
It was stated in the report that technology that has a connection with Chinese firms, especially, Dahua, Huawei, ZTE, and Hikivision, supply artificial intelligence surveillance technology in sixty-three countries, out of which thirty-six have signed onto the Belt & Road Initiative of China. According to the critics, the Belt & Road initiative, the signature of Xi Jinping, the President of China, cross-border infrastructure project, has been planned for drawing countries in Africa, Asia, as well as Europe deeper into the economic orbit of Beijing.The technology giant, Huawei Technologies Co., which is a leading market in next generation 5-G wireless networks, is exclusively responsible for providing Artificial Intelligence surveillance technology to a minimum of fifty countries, as to the report.’
The report further said that Chinese product pitches are often accompanied by soft loans for encouraging governments to buy their equipment.
This, in turn, leads to raised troubling questions regarding the degree to which the government of China is subsidizing the buying of advanced repressive technology.
On May 20, the respected Heritage Foundation released a report, saying Beijing is using its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) infrastructure projects in Africa to embed Chinese surveillance technology into government buildings and telecommunication networks. “This enables the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to spy on and better manipulate top government officials, furthering its influence across the continent and throughout the world,” Breitbart reported on May 21.
More from the Breitbart article:
“In Africa, Chinese contractors have built at least 186 government buildings and at least 14 “sensitive intra-governmental telecommunication networks.” In addition, the Chinese government has donated computers to at least 35 African governments in recent years.
“At least 40 of Africa’s 54 countries have a government building constructed by a Chinese company,” according to the report. The danger of China’s access to official African government buildings became clear in 2018 when reports surfaced that Beijing had been spying on the African Union (AU) headquarters building it constructed for at least the past five years.”
Quoting the Heritage Foundation report, they said:
Servers installed by the Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei in the African Union headquarters were daily uploading their content to servers based in Shanghai, China. An inspection of the building—built by the state-owned China State Construction Engineering Corporation—also uncovered listening devices hidden throughout the building.
For background information on the Belt and Road initiative, see this article.
Infiltration of American universities
Under President Donald Trump, the United States is cracking down on efforts by the Chinese to infiltrate American universities and prosecute scientists who are illegally cooperating with the Chinese government. One of the most shocking cases of the later came in January 2020 when FBI agents arrived at Harvard and arrested Dr. Charles Lieber, the chair of Harvard’s department of chemistry and chemical biology. According to the New York Times, Dr. Lieber was accused of “hiding — from Harvard, from the National Institutes of Health and from the Defense Department — the amount of money that Chinese funders were paying him.”
From the NYT report:
“In 2011, the documents say, [Dr. Lieber] signed an agreement to become a “strategic scientist” at Wuhan University of Technology in China, entitling him to a $50,000 monthly salary, $150,000 in annual in living expenses and more than $1.5 million for a second laboratory in Wuhan. In 2013, he celebrated the founding of a joint laboratory, the WUT-Harvard Joint Nano Key Laboratory.
The authorities said that he was informed in 2012 that he had been selected to participate in the Thousand Talents plan, the China-run program.
In 2015, Harvard officials discovered that Dr. Lieber was leading a laboratory at Wuhan University, and informed him that the use of Harvard’s name and logo was a violation of university policy. Dr. Lieber then distanced himself from the project, but continued to receive payment, prosecutors said.
Then in 2017 he was named a university professor, Harvard’s highest faculty rank, one of only 26 professors to hold that status. The same year, he earned the N.I.H. Director’s Pioneer Award for inventing syringe-injectable mesh electronics that can integrate with the brain.”
For the purposes of the present research, the latter point is critical. Dr. Lieber was working on technology to implant electronic chips (mesh electronics) into the brains of mammals.