Chapter

The role of digital media in China: participation in an unlikely place

Authors:
To read the full-text of this research, you can request a copy directly from the authors.

No full-text available

Request Full-text Paper PDF

To read the full-text of this research,
you can request a copy directly from the authors.

... Meanwhile, research on social media and policy agenda setting in China is still embryonic (Lin & Zhang, 2020). Scholars suggest that the country's state-run media's influence on public opinion has changed in recent years reflecting the increased use of social media platforms. ...
Article
Full-text available
The advent of digital social media in China has altered our understanding of who sets the policy agenda and forms public opinion. Using text mining analysis of more than 74,000 Weibo user comments (over 4 million words) on 6 years' worth of The People's Daily media coverage, this study investigates social media interactions on family planning policy issues between the state-run news media and individual users in China. Our analysis demonstrates that Weibo postings about the topic by government-run news networks and comments by the general public are affecting each other, but also presenting partially reverse or bottom-up agenda-setting effects. Through latent dirichlet allocation (LDA) modeling, we identified major latent topic sets (women's right to work, family culture/ tradition, law/regulation, and social welfare/wellbeing) and found that Weibo users' main concerns on China's family planning have changed over time. We also found that gender differences affect the topics of commenters.
Article
Full-text available
Big data technologies have been adopted by both the public and private sectors to develop and expand surveillance capacities. This article traces the institutional processes and political-economic interests of the public and private stakeholders involved in the construction of China’s Social Credit System (SCS), which is currently on track for full deployment on 1.4 billion citizens by 2020. The SCS aims to centralize data platforms into a big data–enabled surveillance infrastructure to manage, monitor, and predict the trustworthiness of citizens, firms, organizations, and governments in China. A punishment/reward system based on credit scores will determine whether citizens and organizations are able to access things like education, markets, and tax deductions. While the SCS is widely described by the Western news media as a means of “big brother” or political control, we find that it is a complicated system that focuses primarily on financial and commercial activities rather than political ones. This article presents a framework for understanding state surveillance infrastructures by exploring how various government agencies are cooperating to establish this centralized data infrastructure with the aim of scoring credit, and discussing the distinct but interconnected processes of data collection, data aggregation, and data analytics.
Article
Full-text available
The present study examines the conditional and differential effects of social media use on elite-challenging political participation, such as petitions, demonstrations, and protests. It applies the Gamson hypothesis (i.e., a combination of high internal political efficacy and low political trust creates optimal conditions for political mobilization) and extends the differential political implications of new media. This study demonstrates how two types of social media use (i.e., capital-enhancing use and recreational use) and the trust-efficacy typology jointly affect political participation, with empirical reference to three Asian societies (i.e., mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan). Results from a comparative survey echoed previous literature indicating that capital-enhancing social media use facilitated political engagement, whereas recreational use might dampen engagement. The Gamson hypothesis was supported in the Taiwan sample: Dissidents who had high political efficacy and low political trust were more politically active, and for these people, capital-enhancing social media had a stronger political impact. In mainland China, the recreational use of social media had a stronger political implication for Assureds, who were politically self-efficacious and had stronger political trust.
Article
Full-text available
This study examines public demand for Internet freedom and control along with their microindividual and macrosocietal predictors. Based on a secondary analysis of the Internet Society’s Global Internet User Survey data, it is found that the picture regarding people’s attitudes toward Internet freedom and censorship is more complicated and nuanced than assumed. First, Internet use was a positive predictor of demand for Internet freedom, but not of demand for Internet control. Second, freedom supply (the amount of Internet freedom in a given country), and individual perception of freedom supply in particular, was found to be negatively associated with people’s demand for both Internet freedom and Internet control, which partially supports the prediction of balance theory. Finally, the results of statistical interaction analyses suggest the impact of Internet use on demand for Internet freedom and control is contingent on people’s perceived freedom supply in their respective countries.
Article
Full-text available
In today’s increasingly mediated Chinese societies, non-government organizations (NGOs) play significant roles in civil society. This article examines the publicity strategies and media logic used by environmental NGOs (ENGOs) in advancing their normative aims and advocacy operations. In-depth interviews with four different kinds of ENGOs showed that divergent philosophies of publicity and normative aims – whether focused largely on approaching policy-makers, lobbying entrepreneurs, or attracting and educating mass audiences – shape campaign styles that are operationalized as campaign discourses, communication strategies, and audience orientations, as well as the management of the relationship to the state. This article proposes that the diverse and stratified publicity strategies used by ENGOs are effective in strengthening their ability to develop environmental campaigns and conduct advocacy work.
Article
Full-text available
Although beliefs in the impact of the Internet on democratization did not quickly materialize, recent research on the linkage between social media use and political engagement has reignited optimism about the democratic influence of new media technologies. At the same time, scholars have noted the capability of authoritarian states to exercise effective control of the Internet and manipulate the online public opinion environment. This study argues that social media can promote elements of a civic culture and system support simultaneously where the state practices networked authoritarianism. Analysis of a survey of university students in Guangzhou, China, shows that public affairs communication via social media relates positively and significantly to five elements of a civic culture: political knowledge, social trust, sense of civic duty, internal efficacy, and collective efficacy. Meanwhile, social media–based public affairs communication does not undermine system support; it even has a strong relationship with optimism about the Chinese government.
Article
Full-text available
This study reviews and analyzes the published empirical research on the role of social media in promoting political expression and participation in Confucian Asia, including China, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan. In addition to providing a narrative review of the literature, our analyses show clear numerical estimates of the relationships among different types of social media use (i.e., informational, expressive, relational, and recreational), political expression, and participation in Confucian states. The findings reiterate the importance of the expressive use of social media, showing its moderately strong relationship with participation. The findings also show weak positive relationships with informational and relational uses. We also examine the role of political systems in these relationships and conclude that the strongest relationships are in democratic states, followed by hybrid and authoritarian systems.
Article
Full-text available
This study investigates how individuals participate in different modes of political participation via social networking sites (SNS) in China, where channels for participation are restricted and the online information flow is censored. A survey conducted at two large universities in southern China revealed that information exchange uses of SNS and SNS-based political activities were positively associated with the canonical mode of political participation-that is, contacting media and joining petitions and demonstrations. SNS-based political activities also positively predicted political engagement via private contacts, such as lobbying acquaintances of governmental officials, and facilitated political actions initiated by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Affiliation with the CCP was found to be a significant predictor of the contacting-lobbying mode of participation and CCP-initiated political activities.
Article
Full-text available
Circumvention tools designed to bypass online censorship—such as simple web proxies, virtual private network service, and so on—are frequently used in countries whose governments impose heavy Internet censorship. Around 18 million Internet users in China are currently using those tools to bypass the Great Firewall and access unblocked online content. In a pioneering empirical investigation of unblocked information seeking in China’s censored online environment, the present study systematically examines a wide range of macro-social and micro-individual factors which affect the use of circumvention tools to bypass Internet censorship under the guidance of the interactive communication technology adoption model. The results reveal that, with the exception of social trust, macro-social factors have only a modest influence on the use of circumvention tools. In contrast, micro-individual-level variables—including perceived technology fluidity, gratifications, and selected demographic variables—play a much large...
Article
Full-text available
In addition to canonical political actions, political consumerism, i.e. using market purchases to express political and societal concerns, is becoming a new form of political participation, and it varies significantly among societies. Two society-level distinctions would account for such variations: the level of political freedom and the level of economic development. Using data from the 2004 International Social Survey Program, multilevel models estimate the effects of both individual and structural factors on individuals’ political consumerism, i.e. boycotting certain products, across 21 countries (n = 30 666). Political consumerism takes place in affluent countries with lower levels of political rights but higher levels of civil liberties. Individual-level political media uses, political orientation and demographics account for boycott behaviours as well. Furthermore, canonical discriminant analysis differentiates political consumption from other types of political behaviours. The study reveals that political consumerism results from the impacts of both individual characteristics and societal determinants.
Article
Full-text available
Online political satire is an important aspect of Chinese Internet culture and politics. Current scholarship focuses on its contents and views it primarily from the perspective of resistance. By reconceptualizing online political satire as a networked practice, this article shifts the focus of analysis from contents to practice. Five types of networked practices of online political satire are identified and analyzed. Practices which mainly fulfill social functions are referred to as ritual satire and distinguished from explicitly political practices. The article thus shows that online political satire has multiple meanings and uses. Its proliferation in Chinese digital spaces results from the complex and interlocked conditions of politics, technology, history, and culture.
Article
Full-text available
Through a case study on the news flow of an online protest in China, this study explores how the power relations among the mainstream media affect, and are affected by, the spillover effect of news. Even though the Internet does serve as a catalyst to initiate alternative voices that otherwise wouldn't be heard in the established media, the results reveal that the power structure inherent in the mainstream media (particularly within their online versions) such as bureaucratic ranks and institutional ties with party organs, plays a significant role in shaping the trajectory of news flow and media framing strategies. The Internet compensates for the disadvantage of the lower-level media that are short of political resources, while the higher-level media tend to rely on the political capital to exercise their influence. At the same time, the media with more political resources have become increasingly intrepid in challenging the state. Such a dynamic takes place in the context of the changing state-media relations that have seen the authoritarian state shift its information control from a totalitarian mode to a practical one, even though the latter may open up a space for flow of information that can sometimes undermine state power.
Article
Full-text available
This paper provides a case study of the changing patterns of news production and consumption in the UK that are being shaped by the Internet and related social media. Theoretically, this focus addresses concern over whether the Internet is undermining the Fourth Estate role of the press in liberal democratic societies. The case study draws from multiple methods, including survey research of individuals in Britain from 2003–2011, analysis of log files of journalistic sites, and interviews with journalists. Survey research shows a step-jump in the use of online news since 2003 but a levelling off since 2009. However, the apparent stability in news consumption masks the growing role of social network sites. The analyses show that the Fourth Estate – the institutional news media – is using social media to enhance their role in news production and dissemination. However, networked individuals have used social media to source and distribute their own information in ways that achieve a growing independence from the Fourth Estate journalism. As more information moves online and individuals become routinely linked to the Internet, an emerging Fifth Estate, built on the activities of networked individuals sourcing and distributing their own information, is developing a synergy with the Fourth Estate as each builds on and responds to the other in this new news ecology. Comparative data suggests that this phenomenon is likely to characterize the developing news ecology in other liberal democratic societies as well, but more comparative research is required to establish the validity of this model.
Article
Full-text available
It is a common perception that as long as people have the resources to access the internet, they are in a position to make their voice heard. In reality, however, it is obvious that the vast majority of internet users are not really able to make themselves ‘visible’ and that their concerns receive little attention. Thus, it is more accurate to suggest that the internet offers ordinary people the potential of this power. Under what conditions can this potential be realized and what are the associated implications? Drawing upon the concept of symbolic power, and utilizing a recent example from China, this article addresses these often overlooked questions. It shows that it is not easy to materialize the potential of symbolic power on the internet. What the internet makes easy is to produce follow-up discourse once a powerful symbol has appeared. With the aid of supporters and their follow-up discourses, the symbol creates a symbolic network and takes roots in the society quickly and deeply. Finally, some thoughts on symbolic power in the context of China are also provided in the framework of discourse and social change.
Article
Full-text available
This study examines theoretical connections among three variables, each in its own way engendering profound political implications for the Chinese society today: news use, national pride, and political trust. We focused on the impact of ?positivity bias in news? and advanced a theoretical model on the basis of framing theory to address the dynamics of propaganda and its persuasive effects. Using data from the World Value Survey, we found: (1) news use in general, television news viewing in particular, was positively associated with political trust and national pride; (2) impact of news use on political trust disappeared once national pride was statistically controlled; and (3) intensity of national pride moderated the bivariate relationship between news use and political trust. The effect of party propaganda intended to consolidate political trust in China was contingent upon both one's affective ties to the state and the form of news media regularly consumed.
Article
Full-text available
In the last two decades, the People's Republic of China has witnessed an explosion of NGOs. What will the implications be for state–society relations? This article, drawing upon research conducted at seven Chinese NGOs, critiques two approaches to analysing this problem: the civil society framework and the privatization perspective. It then proffers a third way: an approach based on organizational analysis. Both the civil society and privatization perspectives assume a zero-sum game between a monolithic state and NGOs/citizens. Yet empirical evidence reveals that Chinese NGOs are often much more interested in building alliances with state agencies and actors than in autonomy from the government. From an organizational perspective, this makes sense. As organizations, both NGOs and state agencies need to ensure a constant supply of necessary resources for the firm to survive, and their strategies for achieving this goal will be constrained by their actors' own institutional experiences and the cultural frameworks extant in their society. Alliances between Chinese NGOs and state agencies can help both types of organizations secure necessary resources and gain legitimacy.
Article
Full-text available
Direct citizen voices are relatively absent from China's public arena and seldom influence government policymaking. In early 2004, however, public controversies surrounding dam building on the Nu River prompted the Chinese government to halt the proposed hydropower project. The occurrence of such public debates indicates the rise of a green public sphere of critical environmental discourse. Environmental nongovernmental organizations play a central role in producing this critical discourse. Mass media, the internet, and “alternative media” are the main channels of communication. The emergence of a green public sphere demonstrates the new dynamism of grass-roots political change.
Article
Full-text available
This study examines older Chinese Internet users' participation in voluntary associations, communities, and politics, focusing on members of a senior-oriented computer training organization based in Shanghai, China. The results show that the Internet can facilitate the civic engagement of these older Chinese, as illustrated by their active participation in Internet-promoting activities, devotion to starting new computer clubs in local communities, and efforts in persuading government officials to provide necessary resources for establishing and maintaining local computer clubs. The findings suggest the following: The Internet can be a useful concept (in contrast to its online informative and communicative functions per se) to facilitate civic engagement in the offline world, computer clubs might be a more attractive approach to civic engagement among older Chinese, and the Internet's impact is mediated by the historical and political contexts of older Chinese. These findings call for a broader understanding of the impact of the Internet on civic engagement.
Article
Full-text available
Based on three large-scale sample surveys in Mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong, this study purports to delineate the relation between traditional political orientations and political participation. It is found that among all three societies, Chinese in the Mainland are most traditional. In general, the negative impact of traditional political orientations on political participation is small once education is controlled for. In particular, political participation in Hong Kong is more individually based, facilitated primarily by modernization pressures. In Taiwan, institutional factors such as democracy, elections and civic associations are paramount and are buttressed by a rising white-collar class. In Mainland China, traditional political orientations have a positive impact on participation and this impact stays much the same even after controlling for education. The positive impact can be explained by institutional interference whereby traditional political orientations exert influence differently on different modes of participation: negative on adversary and protest activities but positive on voting, campaign and appeal activities. The findings of this paper imply that the argument that Confucian political culture makes a democratic China impossible is incomplete and will become irrelevant.
Article
Full-text available
Contrary to the optimistic view that the Internet would promote democracy in authoritarian countries like China, the pervasive political apathy among younger generations calls for a closer examination of micro-level individual political participation. This study contributes to the nascent body of empirical literature probing Chinese Internet users' political participation online by examining related behavioral and attitudinal factors. We argue that Chinese netizens' online participatory behaviors are determined by their political attitudes, trust in the media, and, chiefly, trust in the social system. Importantly, the current political and social environment in China seems to truncate any liberalizing potential of the Internet, as evidenced by the limited online political discussion and strong presence of government regulation. This dynamic implies that any utopian predictions concerning political participation online need to be reformulated in light of these external contextual factors.
Article
Full-text available
Authoritarian rule in China is now permeated by a wide variety of deliberative practices. These practices combine authoritarian concentrations of power with deliberative influence, producing the apparent anomaly of authoritarian deliberation. Although deliberation is usually associated with democracy, they are distinct phenomena. Democracy involves the inclusion of individuals in matters that affect them through distributions of empowerments such as votes and rights. Deliberation is a mode of communication involving persuasion-based influence. Combinations of non-inclusive power and deliberative influence—authoritarian deliberation—are readily identifiable in China, probably reflecting failures of command authoritarianism under the conditions of complexity and pluralism produced by market-oriented development. The concept of authoritarian deliberation frames two possible trajectories of political development in China: the increasing use of deliberative practices stabilizes and strengthens authoritarian rule, or deliberative practices serve as a leading edge of democratization.
Chapter
Full-text available
Do ideas drawn from the social movement literature travel well once we leave the democratic West? Research on protest in contemporary China shows that familiar concepts can be applied to China, and can also modify or question ideas that do not square with the realities of an authoritarian, non-western state. To this point, the biggest payoffs of studying popular contention in China have been: new ways of thinking about political opportunities, mobilizing structures, and framing. There remain three important gaps, however, in the study of Chinese collective action, all of which are places where future research can contribute to the understandings of contentious politics: 1) activism and the upwardly mobilie, 2) international influences, and 3) repression.
Article
Full-text available
Modern authoritarianism relies on a combination of patriotism and performance-based legitimacy rather than ideology. As such, a modern authoritarian government has to allow for some forms of political discussion and participation from which popular consent to authoritarian rule is derived. With 420 million Internet users, 200 million bloggers, and 277 million netizens able to access the Internet through their mobile phones (CNNIC, 2010), China presents an interesting case to examine public deliberation online. Adapting the concept of authoritarian deliberation (He, 2006a) from an offline environment to an online one, the article proposes four types of online spaces of authoritarian deliberation extending from the core to the peripheries of authoritarian rule: central propaganda spaces, government-regulated commercial spaces, emergent civic spaces, and international deliberative spaces. The paper discusses their characteristics and implications for political participation in China and argues that democracy need not be a precursor to public deliberation. Instead, public deliberation may present a viable alternative to the radical electoral democracy in authoritarian countries like China.
Article
Full-text available
The rise of the press, radio, television and other mass media enabled the development of an independent institution: the 'Fourth Estate', central to pluralist democratic processes. The growing use of the Internet and related digital technologies is creating a space for networking individuals in ways that enable a new source of accountability in government, politics and other sectors. This paper explains how this emerging 'Fifth Estate' is being established and why this could challenge the influence of other more established bases of institutional authority. It discusses approaches to the governance of this new social and political phenomenon that could nurture the Fifth Estate's potential for supporting the vitality of liberal democratic societies.
Article
This study refreshes the communication mediation model by integrating impacts of individual psychological traits (civic motivations and political efficacy) with the relationships between Chinese netizens' media news uses, civic expression/discussion and civic engagement in the model. The results of an online survey (N=490) indicated that new media and conventional media have indirect effects on civic engagement through different mediators. Specifically, reading news from the newspapers has a negative impact on motivations driven by emotion, but directly spurs political efficacy, civic discussion and engagement. By contrast, watching TV news encourages civic discussion, while browsing news online increases the likelihood of participatory behaviours, driven by emotions of anger or sadness. Pressure from social networks is positively related to civic engagement. Motivations of civic duties, emotion and political efficacy are positively related to online civic expression and discussion with social networks about public affairs, both of which are strongly associated with participatory behaviours.
Article
By bridging the news diffusion perspective with collective action studies, this article examines how collective action stories flow between websites and how such diffusion trajectories are shaped by the nature of protests and the institutional features of Chinese media. We first propose a dynamic typology to map China’s activism in the digital era within two dimensions: action logic (collective versus connective) and event entrepreneurs (with versus without). We then analyze the news trajectories of three prominent cases and find a strong association between the nature of collective action and state– media interactions. When event entrepreneurs—sympathetic elites such as journalists, lawyers, academics, and netizens—compete to narrate the reality through a protest, political control serves as the dominant mechanism of movement–press dynamics. As activism moves from collective logic toward connective action, the influence of journalistic professionalism on news trajectories can be seen. This study offers a contextualized account to understand the nuanced dynamics between the state, the media, and social movements, and it also presents a framework for analyzing how activism plays out in China in the digital era.
Article
Changes in information communication technology across the Asian region have altered our field substantively and methodologically. The rapid growth of digitized communications allows us to find new purchase in examining questions fundamental to our understanding of communication theories, norms, and practices across Asia. While methods such as text mining and user analytics are increasingly popular among computational scholars, here, we focus on online field experiments, an approach to studying communication that has the potential to overcome many existing obstacles to social scientific inquiry but one that has been used relatively rarely in Asia. In this paper, we discuss what online field experiments are and how they differ from traditional experiments as well as online lab and survey experiments. We show how researchers can go about designing and implementing online field experiments, focusing on issues where online field experiments differ from their traditional counterparts – legal and ethical considerations, construct validity, randomization and spillover, and statistical analyses. Finally we discuss how online field experiments can advance our understanding of communication in Asia by helping researchers to gain insight and make causal inferences on attitudes, behaviors, and interactions that were previously unobservable ℘.
Article
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to examine the impact of internet censorship, which is represented by the Great Fire Wall, on Chinese internet users’ self-censorship. Design/methodology/approach A 3×2 factorial experiment (n=315) is designed. Different patterns of censorship (soft censorship, compared censorship, and hard censorship) and the justification of internet regulation are involved in the experiment as two factors. The dependent variable is self-censorship which is measured through the willingness to speak about sensitive issues and the behavior of refusing to sign petitions with true names. Findings The results show that perceived internet censorship significantly decreases the willingness to talk about sensitive issues and the likelihood of signing petitions with true names. The justification of censorship significantly decreases self-censorship on the behaviors of petition signing. Although there are different patterns of internet censorship that Chinese netizens may encounter, they do not differ from each other in causing different levels of self-censorship. Research limitations/implications The subjects are college students who were born in the early 1990s, and the characteristics of this generation may influence the results of the experiment. The measurement of self-censorship could be refined. Originality/value The study contributes to the body of literature about internet regulation because it identifies a causal relationship between the government’s internet censorship system and ordinary people’s reaction to the regulation in an authoritarian regime. Unpacking different patterns of censorship and different dimensions of self-censorship depicts the complexity of censoring and being censored.
Article
This longitudinal study explored the popularity and social significance of the 2005 season of the prominent Chinese television show Super Girls’ Voice (a talent show similar to Pop Idol in the UK) regarding gender issues. Based on three focus group studies of the show’s young female audience conducted in 2007, 2010, and 2015, we contend that tomboyish contestants, specifically Li Yuchun, were designated androgynous by most participants. Androgyny was largely perceived as a flexible gender identity that integrated the favorable appearance and personality traits of femininity and masculinity, a view that challenges normative femininity. Most participants also applied this meaning of the term to their own social lives, while some of the participants who were of school age in 2005 applied it to both their social lives and their construction of gender identity by copying the androgynous style. From a time-related perspective, however, we suggest that those participants who had copied the androgynous style were more willing to conform their appearance to the standards of normative femininity several years later, and renegotiated their gender identity in alignment with traditional patriarchal norms.
Article
China is one of the world’s most sophisticated internet censoring countries. Internet users who wish to visit blocked websites will have to use circumvention tools to get around the Great Firewall, a censoring system inspecting, filtering, and blocking content online. Using a nationally representative survey dataset, this study tries to compare circumvention tool users and non-users in terms of their demographic difference, internet use motivation, media trust, and most importantly, their political attitudes and behaviors. We found that more than 11 percent of the Chinese internet users were circumvention tool adopters, who were most likely to be young and well-educated. Compared to non-users, circumvention tool users exhibited a mixture of politically conservative attitudes and pro-civic motivations and behaviors.
Article
We review the great variety of critical scholarship on algorithms, automation, and big data in areas of contemporary life both to document where there has been robust scholarship and to contribute to existing scholarship by identifying gaps in our research agenda. We identify five domains with opportunities for further scholarship: (a) China, (b) international interference in democratic politics, (c) civic engagement in Latin American, (d) public services, and (e) national security and foreign affairs. We argue that the time is right to match dedication to critical theory of algorithmic communication with a dedication to empirical research through audit studies, network ethnography, and investigation of the political economy of algorithmic production.
Article
This article proposes visibility as a new lens through which to examine the politics of Internet censorship in China. It focuses on the practice of recoding, that is, the use of code words and images to circulate information that is deemed “sensitive” and therefore removed from the web. While commentators in the West have often described censorship-evading practices like this as a form of “resistance” against state domination, little academic attention has been paid to how and why recoding holds political and cultural significance. The prism of visibility, by conceptualizing recoding as a cultural response to censorship, opens up a more critical perspective to comparatively analyze examples drawn from both China and the United States. It therefore invites a careful rethinking of China’s Internet censorship beyond the framework of the nation-state, by calling attention to the social dimension of meaning making and the negotiation of power in a transnational context.
Article
Voluntary association membership varies dramatically among nations, by both the number and the type of associations that people join. Two distinctions account for much of this variation: (1) the distinction between statist versus nonstatist (sometimes called "liberal") societies, and (2) the distinction between corporate versus noncorporate societies. These two dimensions summarize historically evolved differences in state structure, political institutions, and culture of nations that channel, legitimate (or deligitimate), and encourage (or discourage) various types of associational activity. Membership in associations in 32 countries is examined using data from the 1991 World Values Survey; hierarchical models estimate the effects of individual-level and country-level factors on individual association membership. Results show that statism constraints individual associational activity of all types, particularly in "new" social movement associations. Corporateness positively affects membership, particularly for "old" social movements. Finally, temporal trends indicate some convergence toward Anglo-American patterns of association.
Article
Civil society and the Internet energize each other in their co-evolutionary development in China. The Internet facilitates civil society activities by offering new possibilities for citizen participation. Civil society facilitates the development of the Internet by providing the necessary social basis—citizens and citizen groups—for communication and interaction. These arguments are illustrated with an analysis of the discourse in Qiangguo Luntan [Strengthening the Nation Forum] and an ethnographic study of Huaxia Zhiqing [Chinese Educated Youth], .
Article
This article examines e gao (online spoofs) as a popular form of political expression which has recently emerged on the Chinese internet. I first introduce a cultural approach to internet-mediated political communication that emphasizes discursive integration and the mutual constitution of communicative activity and subjectivity. I then discuss how these two dimensions are configured in the specific media ecology in China with regard to the emergence of e gao. I will analyse the political implications of e gao through a close reading of the two most influential cases. Granted that these online spoofs neither qualify as rational debates aiming to achieve consensus nor have produced any visible policy consequences, but they constitute a significant component of civic culture that offers both political criticism and emotional bonding for all participants.
Article
Village elections have been a much talked about subject both inside and outside China since the 1980s. Yet there is little agreement on the exact nature of these elections. The following study is an empirical effort to study peasants' participation in Chinese village elections. The key question asked in this study is What subjective factors motivate Chinese peasants to vote or not vote in village elections? The authors' main findings are that those who tended to vote in village elections were people with low levels of internal efficacy and democratic values, high levels of life satisfaction and interest in state and local public affairs, and that anti-corruption sentiment does not seem to play any role in village elections. Peasants with higher levels of internal efficacy and democratic orientation stayed away from village elections due to the institutional constraints on these elections. These findings call into question the competitiveness and democratic nature of Chinese village elections.
Article
This article assesses the preliminary impact of the Internet on civil society development in China. Based on survey data and in-depth case studies, three areas of impact are identified and analysed. First, with respect to China's public sphere, the social uses of the Internet have fostered public debate and problem articulation. The Internet has demonstrated the potential to play a supervisory role in Chinese politics. Second, the Internet has shaped social organizations by expanding old principles of association, facilitating the activities of existing organizations and creating a new associational form, the virtual community. Finally, the Internet has introduced new elements into the dynamics of protest. The article concludes after discussing the conditions and obstacles that influence the social uses of the Internet in China, cautioning against an overoptimistic view of the role of the Internet in civil society development while stressing the importance of the Internet as a new social phenomenon in China.
Article
Given scholars' concerns with media influences on civic life, it is not surprising that researchers have begun to focus on how the Internet may enhance or erode levels of civic engagement. Collectively, however, these studies are rife with inconsistencies in the explication and operationalization of the predictor variable, Internet use. This study investigates the role of Internet use in shaping civic engagement, looking specifically at multiple conceptualizations and measurements. Results from a community study (N = 301) indicate nuanced relationships between dimensions of Internet use and forms of civic engagement. These relationships are discussed in light of citizens' use of more traditional media.
Article
This article addresses a long-standing question: What are the political consequences of the rise of the Internet and the attendant emergence of netizens in China, particularly in terms of China's democratic prospects? Given the Chinese state's firm control in the realm of traditional media, the Internet has been expected to bring about political and social change in China since its introduction. Although scholars have had divergent views on what this change might look like, there has been no systematic effort to produce representative evidence to address the debate. Examining a nationwide representative survey data set, this study finds that Chinese netizens, as opposed to traditional media users and non-media users, are more politically opinionated. In addition, they are more likely to be simultaneously supportive of the norms of democracy and critical about the party-state and the political conditions in China, while also being potential and active participants in collective action. This article argues that, despite the competent authoritarian state, a more decentralized media system enabled by technology has contributed to a more critical and politicized citizenry in China's cyberspace. The Internet has made it possible for China's media system to undertake a new, albeit restricted and contingent role as a communication institution of the society. As critical citizenry, China's netizens constitute a new social force challenging authoritarian rule.
Article
Although academics have paid much attention to contentious politics in China and elsewhere, research on the outcomes of social protests, both direct and indirect, in non-democracies is still limited. In this new work, Yongshun Cai combines original fieldwork with secondary sources to examine how social protest has become a viable method of resistance in China and, more importantly, why some collective actions succeed while others fail. Cai looks at the collective resistance of a range of social groups—peasants to workers to homeowners—and explores the outcomes of social protests in China by adopting an analytical framework that operationalizes the forcefulness of protestor action and the cost-benefit calculations of the government. He shows that a protesting group's ability to create and exploit the divide within the state, mobilize participants, or gain extra support directly affects the outcome of its collective action. Moreover, by exploring the government's response to social protests, the book addresses the resilience of the Chinese political system and its implications for social and political developments in China.
  • Freedom House
Freedom House (2019) Freedom of the World Report, 2018. [Online] Available t https://freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-world/2019/china/ (accessed 1 September 2019).
The Semi-Sovereign Netizen: The Fifth Estate in China
  • S Huan
  • W H Dutton
  • W Shen
Huan, S., Dutton, W. H. and Shen, W. (2013) 'The Semi-Sovereign Netizen: The Fifth Estate in China'. In P. G. Nixon, R. Rawal, and D. Mercea, eds, Politics and the Internet in Comparative Context: Views From the Cloud. London: Routledge, pp. 43-58.
China's Most Popular App is a Propaganda Tool Teaching Xi Jinping Thought'. South China Morning Post
  • Z Huang
Huang, Z. (14 Feb, 2019) 'China's Most Popular App is a Propaganda Tool Teaching Xi Jinping Thought'. South China Morning Post. Available at https://www.scmp.com/tech/apps-social/article/2186037/chinas-most-popular-apppropaganda-tool-teaching-xi-jinping-thought/ (accessed 1 September 2019).
From Internet to Social Safety Net: The Policy Consequences of Online Participation in China', Governance
  • J Jiang
  • T Meng
  • Q Zhang
Jiang, J., Meng, T. and Zhang, Q. (2019) 'From Internet to Social Safety Net: The Policy Consequences of Online Participation in China', Governance. [Online first] Available at https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/gove.12391/ (accessed 1 September 2019).
The Silent Revolution
  • R Inglehart
Inglehart, R. (1977) The Silent Revolution. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Zhongguo Fazhi Fazhan Baogao (Annual Report on the Development of China's Rule of Law)
  • L Li
  • H Tian
  • Y Lu
Li, L, Tian, H. and Lu, Y. (2014) Zhongguo Fazhi Fazhan Baogao (Annual Report on the Development of China's Rule of Law). Beijing: Chinese Academy of Social Science Press.
Dimensions of Social Dominance and Their Associations with Environmentalism
  • S K Stanley
  • M S Wilson
  • C G Sibley
  • T L Milfont
Stanley, S. K., Wilson, M. S., Sibley, C. G. and Milfont, T. L. (2017) 'Dimensions of Social Dominance and Their Associations with Environmentalism', Personality and Individual Differences, 107, pp. 228-36. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2016.11.051/ (accessed 1 September 2019).
New Partners or Old Brothers? GONGOs in Transnational Environmental Advocacy in China
  • F Wu
Wu, F. (2002) 'New Partners or Old Brothers? GONGOs in Transnational Environmental Advocacy in China', China Environment Series, 5, pp. 45-58.
Chinese e-Social Science: A Low-End Approach
  • J H Zhu
  • X Li
Zhu, J. H. and Li, X. (2010) 'Chinese e-Social Science: A Low-End Approach'. In W. H. Dutton and P. W. Jeffreys, eds, World Wide Research. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, pp. 188-90.