The Authoritarian Assault on Knowledge

Issue Date October 2020
Volume 31
Issue 4
Page Numbers 28-43
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An urgent new class of challenges to independent intellectual inquiry has emerged on the global stage. These challenges stem primarily from the vulnerabilities that economic and technological change have introduced into the knowledge sectors of open societies, including both mature and developing democracies. In recent years, intensifying marketization has placed ever-greater financial and competitive pressures on publishers, universities, and other knowledge-sector institutions critical to the functioning of democracies. While a number of authoritarian regimes are investing in efforts to coerce and coopt knowledge-sector institutions in democracies, Beijing’s global reach stands out. Research institutions in democracies are responding by strengthening their internal processes, motivated by the threats of damaged reputations, loss of state funding, and stern regulatory or legislative action.

About the Author

Glenn Tiffert, a visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution, is a historian of modern China. A specialist on the Chinese legal system, he has published on the judiciary, constitutionalism, and the genealogy of the rule of law in China. His current research probes the intersections between information technology and authoritarianism, and the ramifications of China’s rise for U.S. interests.

View all work by Glenn Tiffert