Ian Williams at the Lewes Speakers Festival


China is building the world’s first digital totalitarian state – a system of hitherto unimaginable social and political control. Internet freedom has been eliminated and ubiquitous surveillance cameras employ the latest facial recognition technology.
Through flagrant cyber espionage, it has plundered Western technology on a massive scale, bullied Western tech companies and academics (though many have been willing accomplices) and intimidated critics worldwide. In doing so, it has become a model for aspiring dictators everywhere.

Williams describes the extraordinary rise of the Chinese surveillance state, showing how it has been driven by the enigmatic Xi Jinping, now effectively president for life, and how it impacts the daily lives of Chinese citizens, particularly dissidents and those from ethnic minorities. Supporting interviews and first-hand accounts from those whose lives have been turned upside down or worse highlight the chilling and ruthless efficiency with which the government can now act.

This talk also considers the wider implications for the rest of the world. How to deal with an increasingly strident, aggressive Beijing is one of the biggest challenges facing the West in what has become a technological Cold War.

Ian Williams is an award-winning journalist who has reported from across the world. He covered business for the London Sunday Times before becoming a foreign correspondent, based in Russia and then Asia for Channel 4 News and NBC.

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Sunday 12 Jun 2022
The All Saints, Lewes. United Kingdom