HomeOppression and Human RightsChina's Chat 'Xi'PT Designed for Xi's Rendition of Socialist Propaganda

China’s Chat ‘Xi’PT Designed for Xi’s Rendition of Socialist Propaganda

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China has introduced a new player that blends cutting-edge technology with a heavy dose of political doctrine. This new chatbot, named “Chat Xi PT,” represents a significant step in China’s efforts to merge AI with the guiding principles of Xi Jinping’s leadership. The development of Chat Xi PT highlights how AI in China is not just about technological advancement but also about reinforcing the Communist Party’s ideology.

Chinese AI companies face two major challenges in their quest to develop chatbots that can compete with Western counterparts like OpenAI’s ChatGPT. The first challenge is overcoming U.S. export controls that limit access to top-tier artificial intelligence chips, which are essential for training sophisticated models. The second, and perhaps more uniquely challenging, requirement is ensuring these AI systems align with “Xi Jinping Thought.”

“Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era” is a comprehensive political doctrine that emphasizes the supremacy of the Communist Party and socialist values. For Chinese AI developers, this means creating systems that not only function effectively but also propagate state-approved ideology. The state ensures that the chatbot’s responses are steeped in the political philosophy of China’s leader, making sure that “these large models need to implement core socialist values,” as noted by Rebecca Arcesati, an analyst at the Mercator Institute for China Studies.

Launched by the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), Chat Xi PT is designed to provide cybersecurity and information-technology research. However, its most distinctive feature is its training data, which includes more than a dozen books and numerous documents authored by Xi Jinping, as well as various state media publications. This ensures that the chatbot’s responses are aligned with the political philosophy of China’s leader. According to the CAC, Chat Xi PT can answer questions, generate reports, summarize information, and translate content between Chinese and English.

While these capabilities are impressive, they are heavily regulated to ensure compliance with socialist values. For instance, when tested, Chinese chatbots have historically declined to discuss politically sensitive topics, emphasizing peaceful and constructive conversations instead. There is a clear directive that these AI systems must avoid any content that could “subvert state power.” This is part of a broader campaign to embed Xi Jinping’s political philosophy into various facets of Chinese society, from educational institutions to digital platforms.

China’s ambition to dominate the global AI sector by 2030 involves a complex balance between innovation and ideological control. While the nation boasts significant advantages, such as a vast population generating immense amounts of data, its stringent censorship laws pose significant challenges. AI models in China are restricted in both the data they can access and the responses they can provide, making it difficult to compete with more freely trained Western models. “Given the political limitations and the lack of access to more extended and uncensored data-training sets, they still do quite well,” Arcesati said. However, she also pointed out that in the long term, the gap between Chinese and American AI technologies might widen due to these restrictions and the lack of access to the best AI chips.

The introduction of Chat Xi PT is part of a broader campaign to promote Xi Jinping’s ideas on politics, economics, and culture. The state’s effort to promote its ideology is extensive, reaching even the youngest members of society. Children are taught Xi Jinping Thought from a young age, and popular news apps prioritize state media articles featuring the leader. This pervasive influence underscores the government’s determination to ensure that in thought, politics, and action, citizens are always in alignment with the Party’s core values.

Western AI models like ChatGPT and Google Gemini remain inaccessible in China due to regulatory barriers. Domestic companies like Baidu and Alibaba must ensure their models do not generate content that could be deemed sensitive. This stringent control extends to the AI models themselves, which must restart conversations if sensitive topics arise. Despite some evidence that Chinese regulators are loosening restrictions on AI to allow chatbots to be more globally competitive, the fundamental requirement for political alignment remains firmly in place.

While Chat Xi PT is currently being trialed internally, its potential public release could further entrench the integration of AI with state propaganda. This move highlights the dual role of AI in China: a tool for technological advancement and a medium for ideological dissemination and propaganda.

ACZ Editor: This is one of the huge dangers of AI. It is engaging and compelling and you can program it to influence children, make reasonable arguments for unreasonable concepts and it can reach as many people as necessary. In a totalitarian state like China, a tool like this is very powerful and a true enemy of freedom and critical thought.

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