Cybersecurity under Xi Jinping: a new model for broad control in China

The Chinese government under Xi Jinping has adopted technologies and legislative actions to monitor the internet, resulting in a powerful censorship system that has earned the name “Great Firewall of China.” Hong Kong scholar Susanne Chan has created a comprehensive analysis of these changes.


Xi Jinping has achieved a remarkable and decisive consolidation of power in the People’s Republic of China. Since taking over as Communist Party chief in November 2012 and as President of the country in 2013, Xi has transformed what had previously been a colorless collective leadership for the country into an aggressive instrument of reform — and control.

This transformation was capped off at the recent 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, at which Xi Jinping officially elevated himself to the status of Deng Xiaoping and Mao Tse-Tung by making “Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era” a guiding principle for the party and the country.

In light of these developments, Hong Kong scholar Susanne Chan has created a detailed appraisal of changes in cybersecurity under Xi Jinping. Chan provides a basic outline of media governance in China and reviews the ongoing attempts to recentralize media control since the 1990s.

In particular, Chan focuses on the recent multi-faceted efforts of the Chinese government to regulate the internet in order to foster and preserve the legitimacy and control of the Communist Party. In addition, she relates all of these regulatory activities to the considerable ongoing changes in the Chinese economy, as well as broader technological trends occurring around the world.

Chan’s article is part of our ongoing interest in the role of new communications technologies in China. We will continue to explore these issues in our analyses.

Chan’s full analysis of cybersecurity under Xi Jinping, with extensive links to news coverage and other resources, is here.

Chan’s guide to media governance in China, with links to background articles on the governing agencies, departments, and offices, is here.

See all columns from the Center.

January 15, 2018