Surveillance State: Inside China’s Quest to Launch a New Era of Social Control
Where is the line between digital utopia and digital police state?
Surveillance State tells the gripping, startling, and detailed story of how China’s Communist Party is building a new kind of political control: shaping the will of the people through the sophisticated—and often brutal—harnessing of data.
It is a story born in Silicon Valley and America’s “War on Terror,” and now playing out in alarming ways on China’s remote Central Asian frontier. As a minority separatist movement strains against Party control, China’s leaders have built a dystopian police state that keeps millions under the constant gaze of security forces armed with AI. But across the country in the city of Hangzhou, the government is weaving a digital utopia, where technology helps optimize everything from traffic patterns to food safety to emergency response.
Award-winning journalists Josh Chin and Liza Lin take readers on a journey through the new world China is building within its borders, and beyond. Telling harrowing stories of the people and families affected by the Party’s ambitions, Surveillance State reveals a future that is already underway—a new society engineered around the power of digital surveillance.