Ambizioni digitali cinesi: una strategia globale per soppiantare l'ordine liberale


G. Iuvinale

Un nuovo rapporto pubblicato dal Center for Innovation, Trade, and Strategy del National bureau of asian research rileva come l'espansione internazionale dell'infrastruttura digitale

da parte della Cina, sebbene discussa in ambito internazionale, rimane un problema ampiamente frainteso e semplificato.

Il documento esclusivo esamina l'approccio strategico della Cina alla rivoluzione digitale, valuta le implicazioni per l'ordine internazionale e fornisce una tabella di marcia per una risposta multilaterale da parte degli Stati Uniti e dei suoi alleati e partner.

Abstract

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has diagnosed that the emergence of data as a factor of production is catalyzing a new industrial revolution. Chinese policymakers view this industrial revolution as a competitive opportunity to leapfrog to leadership of the international system. Beijing’s global digital strategy rests on seizing this opportunity by competing to control international data, its movement, and, by extension, the production, distribution, and consumption of resources and ideas internationally. A new global digital architecture is taking shape. It is both disrupting the existing hierarchy and creating the foundation for a new kind of geopolitical power. China intends to define this digital architecture by building its physical infrastructure and corresponding virtual networks and platforms, setting the technical standards that govern them, and shaping the emerging global digital governance regime. In doing so, it is cementing Chinese control over the international flow of data—and, as a result, resources. The digital revolution promises a new era of opportunity, technological advancement, and freedom of movement and thought. However, it also entails unprecedented dangers: the possibility of digitally empowered authoritarianism that reaps profits as it asserts control, a monopolistic network power that squeezes out competition in favor of a rent-based system of political and commercial hegemony, and the capacity to shape, alter, and amplify information at a networkeffect pace and scale. China’s digital ambitions threaten the ability of companies to compete fairly in the international marketplace, of information to circulate freely, and of governments to defend themselves. China’s success would undermine the existing global system as well as the norms, freedoms, prosperity, and stability that it affords. But China’s success in achieving its digital ambitions is not a foregone conclusion—if, that is, liberal democracies and market economies stand up to Beijing’s challenge. They must work together to promote and defend a digital architecture that can resist illiberal, non-market control and protect the free flow of information. This will be the defining battleground of international relations for the decades ahead. This report judges that China is strategically and deliberately capitalizing on the digital revolution as an opportunity to define and assert control over international resources, markets, and governance. The six chapters document Beijing’s strategic approach to the digital revolution, its growing global influence, and implications for the international order. The first four chapters map China’s efforts to rewrite the international digital architecture from the ground up, including through the proliferation of digital infrastructure and platforms, as well as from the top down, via influence over technical standards and governance systems. They reveal that China is turning traditionally commercial and cooperative global domains into battlefields of nation-state competition. They also find that Beijing benefits from a set of asymmetric, structural advantages— scale, centralization, and industrial capacity—that may be newly and uniquely determinative for the digital contest, at least as China is engaging in it. Chapter 5 draws on these findings to demonstrate that Beijing’s approach to the digital revolution could transform the nature and stakes of geopolitical power—with corresponding direct security risks, as well as broader commercial, political, and normative ones. However, Beijing’s agenda is not a fait accompli. A set of multilateral proactive and defensive actions laid out in the final chapter aim to provide a roadmap for an effective, and feasible, response.



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