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Concept Notes for the Democratic Alliance on Digital Governance Conference on July 1, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a great disaster for humanity.

Today this disaster poses urgent problems to the world that need to be addressed to protect and strengthen Democracy.

This disaster stems partly from the fact that China’s leaders and political systems are secretive, have no transparency of information, do not cooperate with the United States and other democratic countries, and pressured the World Health Organization to delay recognition of the epidemic and to develop appropriate responses.

Mr. Vu Ngoc Hoang, a former leader of the Communist Party of Vietnam wrote: “China’s leaders often are scheming, treacherous, and devious and are a danger to and threatening the world peace and security.  They are not trust-worthy, so there should not be any illusion that they will soon change their nature for the better.  It will take forever; don’t send the chicken to the fox and hope for the best!”

China has also deployed new technologies for social control that are intended to stifle dissent, monitor private life, and enforce state authority. Of particular concern is the growing use of face surveillance which allows the Chinese government to track individuals in their daily lives and to observe and assess social and political networks.

This conference will discuss strategies and solutions to cope with these growing risks both in politics and economics and to find models of alliances or affinity to promote strengthen democracy around the world.

Panel 1: New Alliance, New Order, New Democracy

This panel discusses the risks of China’s undermining world democracy, of which Hong Kong is an example of the consequence. July 1 is also the anniversary of Hong Kong being handed over to China by the United Kingdom.

While governments of democratic states are fragmented, lacking a coherent strategy, united plan, or close cooperation to protect and strengthen democracy, parliamentarians have established Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC). What role can IPAC play to rally democratic resources around the world? In the digital, Internet, and AI era, digital democracy has an important role in protecting and strengthening democracy.

After a year of research and development, the Boston Global Forum officially announced The Social Contract 2020, A New Social Contract in the Age of AI, on May 5, 2020. On May 12, 2020, the World Leadership Alliance-Club de Madrid and the Boston Global Forum held a roundtable to discuss the Social Contract 2020 and risks to human rights stemming from governments’ response to COVID-19. On June 26, 2020, to celebrate 75 Years of United Nations Charter Day, the UN and BGF co-organize UN Charter Day Roundtable: A New Social Contract in the Age of AI. Participants in both events stated that the Social Contract is a good foundation to strengthen democracy and to preserve peace and security for humanity in the Age of AI. The Social Contract calls for the establishment of the Democratic Alliance on Digital Governance.

How should this Democratic Alliance be set up? What is the connection between IPAC, BGF, World Leadership Alliance-Club de Madrid, and the newly established Global Partnership on AI? How do governments, businesses, and foundations support it? How should an initiative to build government and business monitoring and auditing system for digital democracy be developed?

What other international organizations should become partners in this new initiative?

How does one monitor the system of governments and businesses on digital democracy? How does one promote, link and unite all democratic power in the world?

The outcome of this panel will a report that outline ideas, solutions, and initiatives for governments, the UN, and international organizations.

Panel 2: New Supply Chain, New Economy, New Democracy

Insidious Chinese leaders and their political systems use a market of more than 1.4 billion people to pressure businesses and make the world economy dependent on China’s economy. The “Belt and Road Initiative” is creating economic dependencies that may weaken the ability of democratic states to maintain independence. Technologies for social control within China are now being deployed in countries that fall within the BRI regions. Most of all, there have been allegations that American finance and investment sectors are being manipulated by China … Now is the time to review economic relations with China. Is it possible that economic dependence with China lessens democratic values? What should be solutions for the world economy to not be dependent on China? Has Australia learned lessons from Chinese pressure, making it difficult for the Australian economy when the Australian government defends its democratic values and requests investigation of the Covid-19 pandemic?

The world needs a new and China-independent global economic strategy in which the undemocratic totalitarian dictatorship in China cannot compete and undermine democratic values ​​through economic relations. What is that strategy? How will the new model be shaped? How does this new strategy leverage the fruits of AI and digital innovation? What should the combination of economic growth and the value of democracy and civilization of mankind look like? Is economic growth necessary at all costs, irrespective of democratic and other fundamental values?

The outcome of this panel is a report that outline ideas, solutions, and initiatives for governments, the UN, and international organizations.

From the opinions presented at this conference, BGF will synthesize and build initiatives, solutions, and action programs to protect and strengthen democracy.