China’s Expansion into Brazilian Digital Surveillance Markets

Esther Majerowicz & Miguel Henriques De Carvalho


A number of countries in the global South have adopted anti-China rhetoric in recent years. Here, we seek to assess the relation of such rhetoric to procurement of Chinese digital systems. We use the example of Brazil during the Bolsonaro government, examining whether Bolsonaro’s anti-China stance impacted procurement of Chinese surveillance technologies by sub-national (state/city) governments. We find that there has been broad and sustained procurement of Chinese surveillance technologies across the political spectrum; both among local governments politically allied to Bolsonaro and those from the opposition. Combined with acquisition at federal level, this suggests anti-China rhetoric does not feed through into procurement realities. Nor can China be singularly associated with diffusion of surveillance technologies as Western democracies have also been suppliers.

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