November 28, 2022

Archive Event Highlight

‘How I Did It’: New York Times Reporters Reveal How They Tracked China’s Expanding Surveillance State

New York Times reporters spent over a year combing through more than 100,000 government bidding documents and found that China’s ambition to collect digital and biological data from its citizens is more expansive and invasive than previously known.

The visual Investigations team worked with reporters in Asia to analyze the documents and interview Chinese citizens targeted by government surveillance. In a two-part series published in June, they concluded: “Phone-tracking devices are now everywhere. The police are creating some of the largest DNA databases in the world. And the authorities are building upon facial recognition technology to collect voice prints from the general public. The vast surveillance data allows the state to target people whose behavior or characteristics are deemed suspicious by an algorithm, even if they’ve done nothing wrong.”

Two NYT journalists will discuss their work on Wednesday, Nov. 30 as part of the OPC’s “How I Did It Series,” which offers members the opportunity to interact with highly successful journalists. Muyi Xiao is a reporter and producer on the visual investigations team, which combines traditional reporting with advanced digital forensics. Paul Mozer is a correspondent focused on technology and geopolitics in Asia.

OPC Past President William J. Holstein will moderate. Holstein has been following China since 1979 when he went to Hong Kong for United Press International. His third book on China, “Battlefield Cyber: How China and Russia Are Undermining Our Democracy and National Security,” will be released in 2023.

Registrants will receive a link to join via Zoom about an hour before the program on Nov. 30.

Click here to RSVP.

Links to the series are below:

Part 1: China’s Surveillance State Is Growing. These Documents Reveal How.

Part 2: ‘An Invisible Cage’: How China Is Policing the Future