CPC’s Reign of Terror through Pervasive Surveillance


China’s repressive political system has always restricted citizens of the country from securing for themselves greater political and social liberties. However, ever since Xi Jinping’s rule, his predecessors have looked frail in comparison. The one-party system prevalent in the country has further managed to tightened its grip since the supremo Xi Jinping took over almost a decade ago. A series of restrictive and authoritative laws has by far cemented Xi’s rule as a leader who seeks to curb social interactions among citizens and his latest term is no different.

Xi’s regime has implemented various hard and draconian surveillance-related and anti-espionage laws that have granted overarching powers to the party establishment for surveillance and data collection measures without any perquisite permission. One of the more prominent laws in this context has been the “National Intelligence Law” passed in 2017, which empowered Chinese intelligence agencies to demand cooperation from organizations and individuals in matters related to national security. Since then, a series of regressive laws has by far out-done the oppressive nature of the National Intelligence Law from 2017.

The two laws introduced by the Party in 2021, the Data Security Law and the Personal Information Protection Law built on the 2017 Cybersecurity Law, included new guidelines for handling data, updated enforcement measures, and additional restrictions on the transfer of data outside of China. Not only did this law enforce stricter measures but played a significant part in terrorizing citizens of the country.

The DSL in specific also expanded the outreach of China’s existing data rules to extraterritorial regions as well, thus leading to a set of guidelines for companies doing business both within and outside the country’s borders. The restrictions also supplanted any hopes for global businesses to expand their ventures within China given the complicated environment the regulatory regimes in China are seeking to impose. The Communist Party of China’s continual suppressing policy measures has not only affect businesses but apparently has also caused discontent among ordinary citizens too.  

However, the most prominent among these newly enacted laws is the recent one that has caused the most amount of dissatisfaction amongst citizens. Far worse in creating social discontent among China’s citizens, the law has invariably turned many fellow citizens against one another. Reports of friends turning on each other has distressed many and is expected to cause widespread social conflicts in the coming times. Cases such as friends turning against one another for not singing the National Anthem and being reported as a spy have also led many analysts to believe that the spirit of the country may be moving in a direction where the supremo Xi Jinping dictates reign supreme.

A section of the amendment that has received significant criticism is the expansion of the definition of offenders from people who ‘join or accept tasks from’ an espionage organization to those who ‘take refuge in it’. The widening of the concept of ‘state secrets and intelligence’ to ‘other documents, data, materials and items related to national security and interests’ have also been expanded to come under the ambit of prosecution within the strict law leading to lose definitions which can attract strict punishments for not even committing the crime. The revised law also allows Chinese authorities to impose exit bans individuals it perceives to be working for foreign agencies irrespective of their nationalities.

These recent developments not only expanded the scope of punishment but also increases the chances for foreign nations to be harassed and subjected to Chinese surveillance under circumstances that the government could deem to be against its national security. Not only are foreign journalists and international businesses going to face significant heat, China’s local communities too have begun to bear the consequences of such draconian enactments. Thus, this has as a result directly led to international engagements from the Chinese communities seeing a sharp decline owning to the threat of falsely being charged under such sinister laws.  

China’s society that has seen some of the most daunting human rights violation, is, as per many China analyst, all set to see another harrowing wave of social coercion due to the regressive set of laws the Party has enacted in recent years. Not only are international businesses being intimidated, false charges of espionage claims have further led many Chinese citizens to reconsider their decision of staying back under the authoritative regime.

As far as the CPC is concerned, there is very little respite to be expected given that such legislations are means for the Party to reenforce its power both politically and socially in the country. With growing unemployment rates and reoccurring crises, the Party can be expected to further curb on individual liberties in order to prevent an uprising against the present regime. Thus, the remainder of Xi’s rule can be ascertained to be one that is going to follow up on the regressive set of laws which have already sowed discontent amongst the general public.

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