How dangerous is China for democracy?
Investor George Soros has warned of the impact advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence could have in the hands of authoritarian states. He stressed that China's leader Xi Jinping could become the most dangerous threat to democracy - particularly as he is expanding his influence through global investments. Not all commentators agree.
A Big Brother called Xi
Dagens Nyheter agrees that China poses a threat:
“The old Chinese police state is still alive using all the modern technologies to monitor, silence and persecute its subjects. People's electronic trails, DNA registers, and hundreds of millions of surveillance cameras that recognise faces have been woven into a gigantic repressive apparatus. Through the development of artificial intelligence the possibilities of 'Big Brother' could be unlimited. He's the president, he's called Xi Jinping and he has tweaked the system to ensure that it makes him the most powerful leader since Mao Zedong.”
Who can stand up to the Chinese?
Beijing stands a very good chance of increasing its influence in the world, La Libre Belgique comments:
“The People's Republic 'builds roads while others build walls', the Chinese foreign minister said in response to Soros' attack. His answer hits the bullseye in Asia, Africa and elsewhere. It sums up the idea that China is becoming all the more attractive as America's leadership and those of other countries crumble. France is getting bogged down in debates, Britain no longer knows if it wants to stay in Europe or not, Germany is seeing a return of the far right, the Westerns states are becoming poisoned by populism and nationalism. It's not at all clear who can champion the cause of the democracies and stand up to the Chinese challenge.”
The West isn't any better
Ria Novosti isn't convince by Soros's claims that he's concerned about Internet freedom:
“You have to be terribly naive to believe that for Soros, a professional financial speculator known for turning economic problems to his own advantage, this is really about fighting for normal citizens' freedom from hi-tech state control. The US oligarch's policy of drawing a line between 'authoritarian Chinese surveillance' and 'free Western societies' is truly embarrassing, because when it comes to online surveillance some of the so-called free countries of the West surpass even George Orwell's wildest fantasies. One only need recall the information Snowden leaked.”