Webinar: "Seeking Truth and Hiding Facts: Ideology, Information, and Authoritarianism in China"


Location: Zoom webinar

Jeremy Lee Wallace


Numbers came to define Chinese politics, until they did not count what mattered and what they counted did not measure up. Wallace's book argues that the Chinese government adopted a system of limited, quantified vision in order to survive the disasters unleashed by Mao Zedong’s ideological leadership, explains how that system worked, and analyzes how problems accumulated in its blind spots until Xi Jinping led the regime into a neopolitical turn. Xi’s new normal is an attempt fix the problems of the prior system, as well as a hedge against an inability to do so. The book argues that while of course dictators stay in power through coercion and cooptation, they also do so by convincing their populations and themselves of their right to rule. Quantification is one tool in this persuasive arsenal, but it comes with its own perils.


Jeremy Wallace is an associate professor of government at Cornell University, on sabbatical leave for 2021-22 at Georgetown’s Mortara Center for International Studies. He studies authoritarian politics focusing on China, cities, statistics, and climate change. His recent work on COVID-19 was published in APSR and on China’s relationship with the international order in International Organization. He serves as an editor at The Monkey Cage and writes the China Lab newsletter.


Wallace's lecture is part of the Liu Institute series Asian (Re)Visions of Nation, State, and Citizenship that invites scholars from multiple disciplines to examine how diverse populations in Asia are remaking discourses and practices of nation, state, and citizenship, with consequences for people in Asia and around the globe. Drawing on a range of approaches, invited speakers will challenge the universalizing models of politics and the nation-state while demonstrating the need to ensure analyses of global issues are derived from lived experiences across Asia.

The series is organized by Liu Institute faculty fellows Kyle Jaros, associate professor of global affairs, Julia Kowalski, assistant professor of global affairs, and Sharon Yoon, assistant professor of Korean studies.




Originally published at asia.nd.edu.