Annika Haas

Analyst of the UT Asia Centre: there are serious problems with China, but it should not be seen only as a major security threat

On 13 February, the Estonian Foreign Intelligence Service released a public report in which the chapter on China outlines the threats posed by the spread of technology from this superpower. Urmas Hõbepappel, an Analyst at the University of Tartu Asia Centre, spoke about the topic in the TV programme “Aktuaalne kaamera. Nädal”.

According to the report, various risks are associated with using Chinese technology, whether related to data collection by TikTok, Chinese-made vacuum robot cleaners and electric cars, or solar and wind farms.  According to Hõbepappel, China is an authoritarian country with no free elections, and its media, including social media and all new technologies, are heavily controlled by the state. 

The analyst emphasised, however, that China should not be seen only as a threat to security. “Many issues that the Chinese are interested in are of interest to us, too. And speaking, for example, of climate issues, major global economic issues, or various problems related to the pandemic, these can only be solved by addressing them together with China,” said Hõbepappel. 

The analyst also said that besides technological advances, China’s capacity is held back by economic and demographic issues. The country has a large amount of bad debt, an ageing population, and no money to sustain them. 

For more detailed system requirements, see (in Estonian).

Read the public report of the Estonian Foreign Intelligence Service:

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