Washington, June 20: China is offering a technology-driven repressive state model to countries like Pakistan and Venezuela, a top American Senator said on Wednesday, warning that the world would be a very different place to live if Beijing takes a lead in technological innovations like AI and 5G.
Democratic Senator from Virginia Mark Warner said China had succeeded in creating a surveillance state that would make George Orwell's dystopian novel 1984 pale in comparison.
"What we have right now is the Chinese government basically trying to take their successes and exploit and basically offer them to other regimes around the world," he said.
Warner is Vice Chairman of the powerful Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. He is also Co-Chair of the influential Senate India Caucus.
During his appearance before the Council on Foreign Relations think-tank, Warner said China was offering a three-part plan to countries.
"One, they offer an authoritarian form of government to other repressive regimes. Two, they offer a Belt and Road Initiative that offers traditional 20th-century economic financing for countries who are open. And three, increasingly they are offering this technology-driven repressive state model to actually regimes like in Pakistan, Ethiopia, Venezuela and elsewhere," he said.
Noting that he was worried over the Chinese developments, Warner said there was no economic success story greater than China's in the last 20-25 years.
"I think we were defaulting not necessarily with China but China is on the move, on the go and they are offering a theory of the case that to a lot of countries around the world looks pretty good.
"If you can somehow obtain China's growth rates and they are saying here don't look to democracy, look at our authoritarian form of government that will give you the kind of control you need to move your country forward," Warner said.
Secondly, China is coupling that with the same kind of tools that the US may have used in the past in terms of economic incentives with the Belt and Road Initiative, he said.
"And third I'm very troubled with what China has been able to do in terms of its creation of a surveillance state again that I think would make George Orwell's 1984 pale in comparison," he said.
Warner said China's "authoritarian" monitoring surveillance state concerned him greatly.
"China is literally creating this social credit system whereby it will know not on a financial credit basis but on a social credit basis how loyal each of its citizens are to the regime based on their daily movements because of the presence of facial recognition and willingness of the Chinese tech companies to share that information with the government," he said.
Warner warned that the world would be a very different place to live if China was allowed to take the lead in technological innovations like AI, facial recognition, 5G and if Beijing ends up setting the standards.
Responding to a question, Warner said the Chinese spy services were threatening Chinese families that they will be put in jeopardy if their son or daughter studying in the US did not come back and come back with intellectual property.
Currently, there are 360,000 Chinese students studying in America, almost double the second nation India at about 186,000, he said.
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