China is building the world's first digital totalitarian state, a system of hitherto unimaginable social and political control. Internet freedom has been eliminated and ubiquitous surveillance cameras employ the latest facial recognition technology.
Through flagrant cyber espionage, it has plundered Western technology on a massive scale, bullied Western tech companies and academics (though many have been willing accomplices) and intimidated critics worldwide. In doing so, it has become a model for aspiring dictators everywhere.
Ian Williams examines the extraordinary rise of the Chinese surveillance state, showing how it has been driven by the enigmatic Xi Jinping, now effectively president for life, and how it impacts the daily lives of Chinese citizens, particularly dissidents and those from ethnic minorities. Supporting interviews and first-hand accounts from those whose lives have been turned upside down or worse highlight the chilling and ruthless efficiency with which the government can now act.
The book also considers the wider implications for the rest of the world. How to deal with an increasingly strident, aggressive Beijing is one of the biggest challenges facing the West in what has become a technological Cold War.