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The National Committee on U.S.-China Relations is the leading nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that encourages understanding of China and the United States among citizens of both countries.

Mar 13, 2023

In Dictatorship and Information, Martin K. Dimitrov offers an approach to understanding possible solutions to the dictator’s dilemma (the balance between authoritarian governments’ use of information communication technology for economic development and the need to control the democratizing influences of this technology), which arises from the difficulty of calibrating repression and concessions due to distorted information about elite and popular discontent. Dr. Dimitrov argues that communist regimes are adept at developing sophisticated systems that mobilize the party, state security, and internal journalism to assess levels of dissent. Drawing from evidence across multiple communist regimes and numerous interviews, Professor Dimitrov contributes to our understanding of how autocrats learn – or don’t learn – about the societies they rule, and how they maintain or lose their hold on power.

In an interview conducted on March 7, 2023Martin Dimitrov discusses information-gathering of communist regimes and how it extends authoritarian governments’ tenure with Kellee Tsai.

About the speakers:

Read the transcript of this conversation

Follow Kellee Tsai on Twitter: @HongKongKellee

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