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As new information technologies and the advent of “big data” are reshaping societies around the globe, inquiries into the nature and varieties of digital governance and their consequences become increasingly urgent. “Smart cities” are mushrooming particularly quickly in China, which is home to more than half of the more than 1,000 smart cities worldwide. These city governments have begun to experiment with digital technologies to harness the power of big data analytics for governing society. Emerging practices have momentous implications for the organization of social, political and economic life in China and globally. In this research project, we systematically study digital governance practices in authoritarian China.

Local Digital Governance

One core aim of the project is to study the variations in local digital governance modes and why these modes evolved in different ways.

Digital technologies

We study digital initiatives in a variety of sectors, including health care, environment, traffic, and security.

Actors Analysis

Our researchers examine government big data administration at the local level and study citizens participation in city digital platforms.



Funded by:

European Research Council

This project is funded by an ERC Starting Grant for the topic “Governing with Data: Local Experimentation in Authoritarian China”. The funding is 1.5 million Euros and the total project period is five years (2020-2025).