Transnational State-Corporate Symbiosis of Public Security: China’s Exports of Surveillance Technologies


Over the last two decades, the emerging Chinese Party-state has used commercial ties with North American and European providers of surveillance technologies to grow national prowess of public security, fostering a transnational state-corporate symbiosis. The exports of surveillance technologies from the Global North to China started in the late 1970s, and now Chinese technology companies are competing with and replacing those suppliers in the globalized neoliberal market. This research explores the two-way dynamic of China’s state and private surveillance capacity underscored by international companies’ profit-seeking behaviors and domestic technological and economic growth. Four case studies of companies from Canada, China, and the US are used to highlight the changing dynamics in the global circulation of surveillance technologies. Particular attention is paid to the cyclical nature of such technologies through which unresolved issues of global governance continue to emerge and, accordingly, support the growth of technology-powered authoritarianism worldwide.

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Published: 2022-06-03
Pages:159 to 173
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How to Cite
Bernot, A. (2022) “Transnational State-Corporate Symbiosis of Public Security: China’s Exports of Surveillance Technologies”, International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy, 11(2), pp. 159-173. doi: 10.5204/ijcjsd.1908.

Author Biography

Griffith University

Ausma Bernot is a PhD Candidate at the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Griffith University. She has seven years of work experience with forensic science and research organisations across the globe, in particular China, where she had the chance to gain insights on how technologies are governed at provincial and national levels. Being fluent in Mandarin and building on existing networks in China, Ausma has excellent capabilities to access key information on both technology and governance in the country. Her current research interests focus on the effects that the merging of infotech and biotech triggers in the fields of surveillance, governance, policing, and public safety. Ausma’s doctoral research explores the dynamic interaction between surveillance technologies and social context and questions the multifaceted conditions that allow for the totalisation of surveillance in China.