This article studies the security politics of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in China. Using securitization as an analytical framework, it examines the official Chinese AI discourse and how AI is becoming a security matter. The article argues that the Chinese central government is securitizing AI to mobilize local states, market actors, intellectuals, and the general public.
China's historical anxieties about its technology and regime security needs are conducive to the rise of a security discourse in China's AI politics, a trend also fuelled by tensions arising from great power competition. Although helpful in convincing domestic actors, this securitization trend could undermine Chinese key AI objectives by heading in an inward-looking, techno-nationalistic direction that may be seriously detrimental to China’s AI industry and leadership ambitions.