Thin end of the wedge: How China is escalating global authoritarianism


China is in the vanguard of normalizing autocratic trends, even within advanced liberal democracies like the UK, towards a political system that rests upon rule by law, a near non-existent civil society, demonizing minority groups and the systematic repression of human rights, argues Chris Ogden, author of The Authoritarian Century: China’s Rise and The Demise of the Liberal International Order.

Even though what we are currently witnessing in the UK is a far milder version of such traits, ultimately authoritarianism in the UK is legitimizing China’s preferred new world order, which seeks to replace the liberal international system with a new authoritarian version, he writes for the London-based Foreign Policy Centre:

In order to prevent any greater slippage toward authoritarianism, populations need to be actively (and regularly) informed concerning their rights, and how such rights were originally won historically, through publicity campaigns and mandatory ongoing civic education classes as both children and adults. Influential individuals – such as television producers, directors, authors, artists, musicians, teachers, journalists and any kind of elected official – need to pre-emptively use their positions now to insist upon the production and promotion of such necessary educational campaigns.

Without such a knowledge base, citizens will be evermore susceptible to different narratives, especially in periods of tumult that frequently serve to accentuate and speed up a country’s assimilation to authoritarianism, Ogden contends. RTWT

China wields little economic or soft power in Hungary, and it does not aim to gain systematic influence over the media narrative in the country, says Tamás Matura, a non-resident Senior Fellow in Democratic Resilience at CEPA. Given Chinese leaders’ well-known pragmatism, they might not think it necessary to invest heavily in shaping the media discourse in Hungary, as the Hungarian government itself cheerleads for China and has been a reliable partner of Beijing in the EU for over a decade, he writes.

The Chinese government is accelerating its efforts to influence news coverage and commentary in democracies worldwide, including through the use of covert and coercive tactics, according to a new report.

Sarah Cook, Freedom House’s Research Director for China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, and other experts discuss the findings of Freedom House’s newest report – Beijing’s Global Media Influence: Authoritarian Expansion and the Power of Democratic Resilience. Learn which countries are under the highest pressure from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and how journalists, activists, and governments are pushing back to mitigate the impact of the campaign.

Thursday, Sept. 8, 2022. 10-11:15 a.m. ET. Virtual Event (via Zoom) RSVP

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