For much of its history, the Chinese Communist Party has viewed technology as a means of raising state power and has developed many technology acquisition programs. These strategies were historically used to catch up with the West, but over the past 20 years, Chinese leader Xi Jinping has been developing a geostrategic vision of how technology can help China not only catch up but surpass the Western states, using a number of state-driven strategies and policies. While Beijing’s approach is no different in intent from the USSR’s strategy during the Cold War, it differs in execution since China is more willing to use private capital and the private sector in its approach towards technology development and innovation bolstering. Over the past 4 years, China has embarked on a massive Digital China strategy with a major digital infrastructure program worth trillions of dollars in a bid to take advantage of the Covid slowdown in the west. However, as Xi Jinping effects changes across the Chinese technology sector, his changes are also having a negative impact on China’s tech sector and wiping off trillions of dollars in value. This elective will explore this and other problems that confront China’s leadership.
Dr. John Hemmings' areas of focus at DKI APCSS are Northeast Asian security, Japanese defence policy, the Indo-Pacific concept, alliance theory, and US alliances. He takes a special interest in 5G and national security. He was the founding Director of the Asia Studies Centre and Deputy Research Director at the Henry Jackson Society, a trans-Atlantic think tank in London. While he was at the Henry Jackson Society, Dr. Hemmings co-authored a study on Huawei, 5G and the Five Eyes, multiple studies on the Indo-Pacific, and coordinate a project on diplomacy on the Korean peninsula.