Billionaire George Soros has called Chinese President Xi Jinping “the most dangerous enemy” of free societies during the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
The Hungarian-American investor told a dinner audience at the event that the Chinese leader’s power lies in China’s hi-tech surveillance capabilities, reports Agence France-Presse.
“China is not the only authoritarian regime in the world but it is the wealthiest, strongest and technologically most advanced. This makes Xi Jinping the most dangerous opponent of open societies,” he was quoted as saying.
According to Soros, the country’s state-of-the-art surveillance system, which includes advanced facial recognition, can be utilized in calculating potential threats from individuals deemed by the state as enemies.
“The instruments of control developed by artificial intelligence give an inherent advantage of totalitarian regimes over open societies,” the 88-year-old former hedge fund manager noted. “The ‘social credit’ system, if it became operational, would give Xi total control over the people.” “Since Xi is the most dangerous enemy of the open society, we must pin our hopes on the Chinese people, and especially on the business community and a political elite willing to uphold the Confucian tradition,” he reiterated.
Soros pointed out how China has effectively maneuvered over the governance of the internet against the West with its new platforms and technologies that are dominating the global digital economy.
“Last year I still believed that China ought to be more deeply embedded in the institutions of global governance, but since then Xi Jinping’s behaviour has changed my opinion,” he added.
“My present view is that instead of waging a trade war with practically the whole world, the US should focus on China. Instead of letting [the Chinese tech companies] ZTE and Huawei off lightly, it needs to crack down on them. If these companies came to dominate the 5G market, they would present an unacceptable security risk for the rest of the world.”
Soros also criticized the approach being taken by President Donald Trump, which involved “making concessions to Beijing and declaring victory while renewing his attacks on US allies.”
“This is liable to undermine the US policy objective of curbing China’s abuses and excesses. The reality is that we are in a cold war that threatens to turn into a hot one,” he warned.
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