George Soros calls China’s Xi Jinping ‘most dangerous’ foe of free societies

George Soros calls China’s Xi Jinping ‘most dangerous’ foe of free societies

24/01/2019 18:09 - Billionaire investor warns of China’s use of artificial intelligence to keep tabs on its citizens. He says open societies must ‘pin hopes on the Chinese people’.

Billionaire investor George Soros on Thursday said Chinese President Xi Jinping was “the most dangerous enemy” of free societies for presiding over a hi-tech surveillance regime.

“China is not the only authoritarian regime in the world but it is the wealthiest, strongest and technologically most advanced.

“This makes Xi Jinping the most dangerous opponent of open societies,” Soros told a dinner audience on the margins of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Communist China under Xi has been building a cutting-edge system including facial recognition to keep tabs on its citizens, and Soros said it would be used to calculate how dangerous a threat individuals might pose to the regime.

“The instruments of control developed by artificial intelligence give an inherent advantage of totalitarian regimes over open societies,” the former hedge fund manager said.

“The ‘social credit’ system, if it became operational, would give Xi total control over the people,” he said at the dinner, which was open to the news media.

“Since Xi is the most dangerous enemy of the open society, we must pin our hopes on the Chinese people, and especially on the business community and a political elite willing to uphold the Confucian tradition,” he said, referencing the ancient history of Chinese officials speaking truth to power, on pain of imprisonment or death.

At last year’s Davos conference, Soros maligned cryptocurrencies and he lashed out at social-media giants Facebook and Google, comparing them to gambling companies that foster addiction among users. He said such firms exploit the data they control and called them a “menace” to society that need more oversight.

Soros, 88, has become an lightning rod for his political views and philanthropic efforts. A long-time supporter and financial backer of progressive causes and Democratic politicians, he’s become a target of right-wing activists.

In October, an apparent explosive device was discovered at his suburban New York home.

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