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Politicisation of technology: Tik Tok and its impact on economic diplomacy.


Chinese global techno nationalistic advances area direct product of its systemic prioritization of the development of indigenous technology and national strategies towards developing a powerful tech industry.

This is explicit in Chinese digital economy narratives where it restricted google, Facebook and twitter and the rapacious effects it had with US tech companies.

The technological mood of China has darkened the modus operandi of relations between states. The two largest economies on the planet on record for now, China and the United States are now moving apart, headed towards a world divided into separate internet, technology regimes and industrial networks.

It is prudent to note that in trying to match is status as the second leading economy in the world, China is making use of its media strategy to exploit several opportunities to achieve its goals that is anti-western sentiments and the admiration of China’s rapid development.

The fundamental objective is to break the West’s media monopoly, export China’s model of social control and consolidated modernization and undermine the United States as a diplomatic and military power.

The first sky rocketing technological move by China was Tik Tok an application that has gone viral and from that which is simply about having fun to one that includes talking about political issues.

Conventional wisdom has it that a general thought of tik tok is a place for goofing off rather than for engaging in political discourse, but a platform for viral communication will never naturally be politics free.

China have systematically prioritised and nationalized its technological industry and this have provided it with the ability to realign the structure of the global tech industry in its favour.

A quintessential example of this move is how Chinese tik tok is used by a number of international organisations such as United Nations and World Health Organisation to disseminate information about the novel virus.

This is a move which is viewed as threatening by the United States because tik tok is said to have what is called Omni-use problem that is an inherently dual use. The politicisation of Chinese tech powerhouse, exuberating itself in the form of tik tok diplomacy has aroused so much trepidation of the global privacy and content.

Thus from a comprehensive analytical point of view, China is accused of creating a China-centric international order by leveraging its technological brilliance and engaging in espionage, distrust of Chinese technological determinations which has concurrently spread worldwide.

It is axiomatic to note that in all of this, Chinese tik tok has stirred up a hornet’s nest and the worry now is that Tik tok and other avenues used by China in its technological rise up and reform could be a powerful vacuum sucking up images and details on the world privacy and feed Beijing’s voracious appetite and this has reverberating consequences of creating a rabbit hole of “what ifs” and a pool of unanswerable questions.

Monumentally, America and its allies has been vociferous about how Beijing may deploy or exploit technology in ways that challenge many of their core interest and fundamental values.

On strategic impact, the diametrically opposed interest of the two countries in question could result in re-sketched alliances that is the renewal cold war, with the world divided into pro-china and US blocs.

In all of this, the concern over tik tok are multidimensional and scarcely amenable to characterization in terms of discrete national security risks.

Thus the rifeness and growing importance to the functioning of national economies and defence institutions blurs the lines between economic and national security interest.

Consequently, the intermingling of economic and security issues, disputes over either type of issues is likely to grow protracted and more difficult to resolve and manage.

Thus to manage such a precarious scene, United States must embrace competition-driven innovation and reorient our industrial age thinking to embrace policies that take advantage of the non -rivalries nature of data.

However, these technological implications have heavily impacted the multilateral and bilateral relations within the international fora.

Above all, what is left is the renewal of the cold war between China and United States and that technology has polarized the political climate in which countries operate escalating into geopolitical competition .

In response to Chinese abilities to affect global tech standards , the west may be forced to rise to the occasion and compete.

Article done by sipiwe Kavukutu a Master of science in international trade and diplomacy student at the University of Zimbabwe
contact details 0734447461

Crucial Kuwanga

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