THE INTERNET AND POLITICAL ACTIVISM IN CHINA

Douglas Gledhill

ABSTRACT


This paper explores the evolving social contract between the Chinese people and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) online and contextualizes it in the global movement for greater government accountability. In keeping with tradition, the CCP continues to censor information and prevent discussion of politically sensitive topics that would question its authority. Meanwhile, the Internet has given rise to a whole new type of public resistance, enabling disparate groups of people with their own grievances to join together in a struggle for accountability. Increased access to information, whether through blogs, alternative online news sources, Weibo, or email, has had several positive consequences for the development of a contentious civil society in China. Information sharing has helped localized protest movements learn their rights as laid out in the Chinese constitution and thus organize their activities in a moderate, legal way.

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