PhD student, UPenn


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A virtual conversation between Chinese government and netizens

March 26, 2014Kecheng Fang0 Comments


Last week, I briefly introduced some examples of Internet governance and online activism in China in the class “Comparative Digital Politics” at the University of Michigan. I created a virtual conversation between Chinese government and netizens as the conclusion.

Netizens: With the Internet, we can get access to all kinds of information.

Government: Except those I blocked. (see GFW)

Netizens: With the help of anti-GFW tools, we can climb over the wall.

Government:In fact only a small number of netizens would use these tools. Most of you are not interested in exploring the world beyond the Great Fire Wall.

Netizens: Even inside the Wall, there is still far more information than before. You can’t censor them all.

Government: I don’t need to censor them all. I focus on those may lead to collective actions. (see Gary King’s study)

Netizens: They are already some collective actions organized with digital media. (e.g., anti-PX protest in Xiamen)

Government: But they are mainly on non-political issues. I remain tight control over political issues. (e.g., China’s jasmine revolution)

Netizens: Talking about political issues, the corruption cases of many government officials are disclosed online and they have been arrested. (e.g., the “Brother Wristwatch”)

Government: They are generally low-ranking officials. In fact, you guys helped the central government to combat corruption on local level.

Netizens: Anyway, netizens generally don’t trust the government. And we have created buzzwords like Grass Mud Horse and 50-cent party to resist your control.

The conversation has not come to an end, and you can try to continue it!

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