Identifying and Countering China’s Global Digital Strategy

Chinese policymakers view this industrial revolution as a competitive opportunity to leapfrog to leadership of the international system, and have developed a comprehensive global strategy to increase China’s control of and influence over the global digital environment to achieve this objective. This strategy seeks to replace the current liberal and decentralized arrangements with a China-dominated, state-centric order that will create the foundation for a new type of geopolitical power and enhance China’s global influence.
On March 11, 2022, NBR, Institut Montaigne (IM), and the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) partnered for a joint virtual event to discuss these issues and the new NBR report China’s Digital Ambitions: A Global Strategy to Supplant the Liberal Order, which explains how China moves from its diagnosis that the emergence of data as a factor of production is catalyzing a new industrial revolution. The sessions debated China’s digital ambitions, the security implications of China’s growing digital influence, and what European countries and other likeminded partners can do to address these challenges.

Several of the report’s authors, as well as experts from IM and ECFR, were featured on the panels.


2:00 p.m. CET / 8:00 a.m. ET | OPENING REMARKS

François Godement, Senior Advisor for Asia, Institut Montaigne
Tara Varma, Head of the Paris office, European Council on Foreign Relations

2:10 p.m. CET /8:10 a.m. ET | KEYNOTE SPEAKER

Bart Groothuis, Member of the European Parliament

2:25 p.m. CET / 8:25 a.m. ET | REPORT INTRODUCTION

Alison Szalwinski, Vice President of Research, The National Bureau of Asian Research

2:30 p.m. CET / 8:30 a.m. ET | PANEL 1: China’s Global Digital Strategy

François Godement, Institut Montaigne

Emily de La Bruyère, Co-founder, Horizon Advisory
Janka Oertel, Senior Policy Fellow and Director of the Asia Programme, ECFR
Samantha Hoffman, Senior Analyst, Australian Strategic Policy Institute

3:15 p.m. CET / 9:15 a.m. ET | PANEL 2: Security Implications and Policy Responses

Tara Varma, Head of the Paris office, European Council on Foreign Relations

Greg Levesque, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Strider
Mathieu Duchâtel, Director of the Asia Programme, Institut Montaigne
Matt Turpin, Visiting Fellow, Hoover Institution, and former U.S. National Security Council Director for China

4:00 p.m. CET / 10:00 a.m. ET | CLOSING REMARKS

Alison Szalwinski, Vice President of Research, The National Bureau of Asian Research

4:05 p.m. CET / 10:05 a.m. ET | ADJOURN

About the Speakers

Emily de La Bruyère is a nonresident fellow at the National Bureau of Asian Research and co-founder of Horizon Advisory, a consulting firm focusing on the implications of China’s competitive approach to geopolitics. She has extensive Chinese language research experience and has pioneered novel data collection and analysis tools tailored to Beijing’s strategic and institutional structures. Her work is at the cutting edge of U.S. analysis on China’s military-civil fusion strategy and platform geopolitics, as well as their implications for global security and the economic order.

Mattieu Duchâtel is Director of the Asia Program at Institut Montaigne. He specializes in Asian security with a focus on maritime affairs, the Korean peninsula, China’s foreign policy, and EU-China relations. He is a former Senior Policy Fellow and Deputy Director of the Asia and China Program at the European Council on Foreign Relations. He previously worked on Asia and China policy research at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute and Asia Centre, and he was a visiting scholar at Peking University’s School of International Studies and the Japan Institute of International Affairs.

François Godement is Senior Advisor for Asia at Institut Montaigne. He is an expert on Chinese and East Asian international affairs, and serves as an external consultant for the Policy Planning Staff of the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs. He is also a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and a long-time professor at France’s National Institute of Oriental Languages and Civilisations (INALCO) and Sciences Po. His latest book, Les mots de Xi Jinping, was published in 2021. He was previously Director of the Asia & China Program and a Senior Policy Fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations

Greg Levesque is the Co-founder and CEO of Strider, charting and executing the company’s strategic vision. As a leading expert on economic statecraft, Greg has testified before the U.S.–China Security and Economic Review Commission and has worked actively with U.S. and European Governments and Fortune 500 companies to identify, assess, and respond to the risks of nation-state sponsored commercial activity. Greg has worked with the National Security Council, Department of Defense, and U.S. Trade Representative’s Office on issues of economic statecraft, grand strategy, and countering of foreign interference in commercial activity. Greg holds a M.A. in Security Studies from Georgetown University and a B.S. in Economics from Utah State University. He is fluent in Mandarin Chinese.

Janka Oertel is Director of the Asia Programme at the European Council on Foreign Relations. She is an expert on topics related to EU-China relations, U.S.-China relations, Asia-Pacific security, China’s foreign policy, the geopolitics of 5G and emerging technologies, and climate cooperation. She is a former Senior Fellow of the Asia Program at the Berlin office of the German Marshall Fund of the United States, and has also worked as a program director at the Körber Foundation’s Berlin office, a visiting fellow at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs, and as a Carlo Schmid Fellow at the New York headquarters of the United Nations.

Alison Szalwinski is Vice President of Research at NBR. Ms. Szalwinski provides executive leadership to NBR’s policy research agenda and oversees research teams in Seattle and Washington, D.C. She is the author of numerous articles and reports and co-editor of the Strategic Asia series along with Ashley J. Tellis and Michael Wills. Prior to joining NBR, Szalwinski spent time at the U.S. Department of State and the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Her research interests include U.S. alliance relationships, U.S.-China relations, and the implications of great-power competition for U.S. alliances in the region. She holds a BA in Foreign Affairs and History from the University of Virginia and an MA in Asian Studies from Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service.

Matt Turpin is a visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution specializing in U.S. policy toward the People’s Republic of China, economic statecraft, and technology innovation. He is also a senior advisor at Palantir Technologies. From 2018 to 2019, Mr. Turpin served as the U.S. National Security Council’s Director for China and the Senior Advisor on China to the Secretary of Commerce. In those roles, he was responsible for managing the interagency effort to develop and implement U.S. Government policies on the People’s Republic of China. Before entering the White House, Turpin served over 22 years in the U.S. Army in a variety of combat units in the United States, Europe and the Middle East, and as an assistant professor of history at the United States Military Academy at West Point.

Tara Varma is a Senior Policy Fellow and Head of the Paris office of the European Council on Foreign Relations. Her expertise includes French foreign policy and security dynamics in Europe and Asia, with particular interest in the role Europeans could play in the Indo-Pacific. She graduated from Sciences Po Lille and SOAS University of London with a master’s degree in International Relations, focusing on Asian Politics and India and China’s foreign policies, and she has worked abroad in Shanghai, Delhi, and Paris.