‘Cybersecurity and Informatization: Restructuring Chinese Governance Through Technology’

In 2014, Xi Jinping declared that China should become a ‘cyber power’ (wangluo qiangguo). On the basis of this strategy, China has sought to not only build its hard technological capabilities, but also integrate digital technologies with economic and social processes. In particular, it is developing new tools to enhance governance and reform the functioning of the (party-)state. Yet at the same time, deepening digitisation has resulted in new challenges and risks. Reflecting these realities, the Chinese digitisation policy intends to balance ‘informatization’ with ‘cybersecurity’, and both concepts have moved increasingly to the centre of politics, integrating and sometimes supplanting earlier organisational principles. This presentation will review this process of evolution, discuss the ideological background of the Chinese approach to technology, and assess how it may impact scholarly analysis of governance in China.