The Political Economy of China’s Security Industrial Complex,1990-2020


What has created the rise of the authoritarian surveillance capitalism in China? How did a globally competitive security industry emerge in such a short period of time? Based on extensive field research in nine Chinese cities conducted between 2017 to 2022 and analysis of various data, this dissertation traces the development of China’s security-industrial complex over the past three decades, with a focus on the interaction between the state and surveillance firms. It argues that the progressive expansion of surveillance authoritarian capitalism reflects neither strategic design by the state nor unbounded market behavior. Instead, the development of China’s formidable surveillance infrastructure has resulted from a more dialectical and nuanced state-market nexus. The urgency of developing surveillance capacity and procuring security technology of the public sector has reconfigured the dynamics of government-business relations. China’s security-industrial complex has evolved into a hybrid system that allows for the initiatives of both government and business actors.

Online Via Zoom
Speakers / Performers:
Mr. Jingyang HUANG