Chinese leader Xi Jinping has often been slammed for his administration's oppressive policies, but billionaire hedge fund manager George Soros went a step ahead calling him the "most dangerous enemy" of free societies.
Soros made the statement on Thursday, January 24, while speaking on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
He explained that Jinping aimed to control the citizens of China with the help of artificial intelligence and machine learning and added that the Chinese leader wasn't the only threat, noting that there were equal concerns about Russian president Vladimir Putin as well.
China is not the only authoritarian regime in the world but it is the wealthiest, strongest and technologically most advanced," the Agence France-Press quoted Soros as saying. "This makes Xi Jinping the most dangerous opponent of open societies."
The businessman also spoke about "the mortal danger facing open societies from the instruments of control that machine learning and artificial intelligence can put in the hands of repressive regimes."
Technology to keep tabs on citizens
Soros added that China was looking to control and keep tabs on its citizens and Jinping was building a technology, which through its algorithm, would calculate how dangerous a citizens could be to the regime.
"The 'social credit' system, if it became operational, would give Xi total control over the people," he said at the dinner. "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."
The 88-year-old Hungarian warned that the US and China were currently in a state of cold war, which could turn into a "hot one."
"On the other hand, if Xi and Trump were no longer in power, an opportunity would present itself to develop greater cooperation between the two cyber-superpowers.
Soros also slammed social media players and said that platforms like Facebook must be monitored. Speaking of US president Donald Trump's policies, he said that the US must crack down especially on China, instead of focusing on "practically the whole world" in trade conflicts.. He warned that companies such as ZTE and Huawei would put the whole world at risk, if they end up dominating the 5G market.
If these companies came to dominate the 5G market, they would present an unacceptable security risk for the rest of the world," he warned.
The US has been voicing concerns about Huawei operations since 2016, claiming that the brand could install back doors in their equipment, which would, in turn, let them monitor users of the device in the US.
Even though the brand had categorically denied these allegations, the Pentagon had stopped providing Huawei devices to its armed forces and retailer Best Buy too stopped the sale of Huawei products, reported Bloomberg. ZTE too has been facing similar issues in the US.