Watching your back is one of the most important requirements of authoritarian regimes to prevent their plans from failing. Saddam Hussein did it in Iraq, Idi Amin in Uganda and so on a long line of tyrants that extends until today. This is how China under the command of Xi Jinping has decided to update the surveillance methods against members of his own party using artificial intelligence (AI).
The purpose of this and many decisions of the Communist Party of China (CPC) is “to do what Xi Jinping says.” For which the Artificial Intelligence Institute of the National Comprehensive Science Center, located in the city of Hefei, integrated artificial intelligence technology into the game.
In this sense, the China Digital Times, a portal that disseminates information blocked by the communist regime, managed to obtain fragments of a video in which one of the scientists approaches a touch screen to do a kind of test. Facial information, data on the electrical activity of the brain and skin are extracted to combine them “in order to make the judgment of concentration, recognition and mastery of party members when they receive information to understand the effect of ideological and political education” .
It is a step that goes further —much more— than what Chinese communism had been applying by tightening the indoctrination of children and young people in schools or worsening the coercive measures against its citizens due to the pandemic to prevent the public order that Xi from undermining. Jinping needs a few days before re-election to achieve his third consecutive term.
Although the information about the use of AI in members of the CCP had leaked earlier this year, it is now especially important because the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China will be held just in the second half of this year in Beijing.
Within said Institute of Artificial Intelligence, there are 43 members of the CCP according to the media that publishes the information. It is then understood why the technology was developed to measure “loyalty” to the Xi Jinping regime, focused since 2012 on an alleged campaign against corruption within his ranks.
Another more recent report, this time from The Epoch Times, mentions that information about AI had been spread by WeChat, but was removed. As is well known, the platform is regulated by the CCP censors. Still, the outlet cited public criticism of the use of AI to monitor ideological indoctrination, with some calling it “technological brainwashing” and “digital authoritarianism.”
Expulsion of officials
Aiming to purify ranks on his way to his third term, Xi Jinping continues to silence fellow party members. At the end of the day, the important thing for himself is the permanence in power without signs of discontent or internal ideological differences.
Thus, in January, three top Chinese officials were expelled from the CCP and placed under criminal investigation, including a former high-level banking regulator, for alleged corruption. That campaign to detect members who are not loyal to the party has already managed to capture more than a million officials, according to information cited by France24. Those convicted, “may be stripped of their wealth and party affiliation, and face life behind bars or even death.”
Now artificial intelligence is part of the state surveillance operation that seeks to spin ever finer to exclude alleged traitors of the Chinese communist cause.