On May 16, 2023, the Institute for Global Governance Research (GGR) hosted the 15th GGR Brown Bag Lunch Seminar titled “An overview of the recent situation of China’s social control policies emphasizing national security,” featuring Professor Tomoko Ako (Professor at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Tokyo). A total of 31 participants from both inside and outside of Hitotsubashi University attended the seminar.
Professor Ako explained China’s social control policies, which have been strengthened by the Chinese government since the promulgation of the “National Security Law” in July 2015, from five perspectives: (1) strengthening authority and inciting the masses, (2) reinforcing ideological education and ideological work, (3) poverty alleviation and economic development (assimilation and absorption), (4) prioritizing national security, and (5) pressuring freedom of speech and civil society. In doing so, Professor Ako provided a wide-ranging analysis based on examples such as the pressure on human rights activist lawyers, journalists, and activists within China, the suppression of Hong Kong demonstrations, ideological education, the Uyghur issue, and the Zero COVID policy. She emphasized the existence of people who continue to raise their voices for change despite being suppressed within the power structure.
During the Q&A session, various questions were raised regarding the background of China’s strengthening of social control policies, the future prospects for Chinese society, and the current state of media control outside of China. Professor Ako responded to these questions based on her research and experience, emphasizing the importance of understanding China’s current situation and reflecting on the lives of people living within oppressive structures.
【Event Report prepared by】
Tomohito NAKANO (Master’s student, School of International and Public Policy, Hitotsubashi University)