In the last couple of years, it has become increasingly difficult for foreign researchers to access China, and even more difficult to conduct critical field research. One of the few channels for empirical data that is left to China watchers is open-source data, which has become an essential resource, especially on politically more sensitive topics.
To talk about open-source data research, how it works, why it matters and what it means for the future of China watching we are joined by Emile Dirks. He is a PhD candidate in the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto and the Futures Fellow here at MERICS. His research focuses on China civil society, human rights, censorship and state surveillance.
Emile is one of the creators of the China drug, crime and detention database, an extensive collection of open-source resources on crime into judiciary in China, and co-author of a report with the Australian Strategic Policy Institute on Genomic Surveillance in China, detailing findings about the Chinese government's forensic DNA database. Questions asked by Jonas Schneider.