Exporting Censorship in the Digital Age: Lessons in Chinese Sharp Power A Discussion with Dr. Glenn Tiffert

Wednesday, February 28, 2018
1:00 PM – 2:30 PM
The Elliott School of International Affairs
1957 E Street, NW, Room 505
Washington, DC 20052

Exporting Digital Censorship Audio (1)

Exporting Digital Censorship Audio (2)

The Chinese Communist Party is pursuing a distinctively Leninist path to soft power. It depicts public opinion as a battlefield upon which a highly disciplined political struggle must be waged and won. This talk documents one aspect of that struggle: how the Party is leveraging its economic muscle and the technologies of the information age to sanitize the historical record and globalize its own competing narratives. The talk also illustrates the vulnerabilities introduced by our deepening digital dependence and the challenges we confront in safeguarding the integrity of our knowledge base.

About the speaker:

Glenn Tiffert, a Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution, earned his Ph.D. in History from the University of California, Berkeley. He has taught at Berkeley, Harvard, University of Michigan and UCLA, and currently serves on the Projects and Proposals Committee of the American Society for Legal History. Glenn’s research interests center on 20th century China, particularly its experience of revolution. At the vanguard among scholars of modern Chinese legal history, he has published works in English and Chinese on the construction of the modern Chinese court system and judiciary, the drafting of the 1954 PRC Constitution, the legacies of Nationalist judicial modernization to the PRC, and the hidden genealogy of current PRC legal policy. Glenn is also pioneering the integration of computational methods drawn from data science into the study of Chinese history. Using China as an illustrative case, his latest research empirically documents the alarming synergies between digitization, intellectual property law, censorship, and authoritarianism, and exposes how emerging technologies could spur Orwellian manipulation of the historical record and memory on a global scale.

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