Liberation Technology: The Battle for the Chinese Internet

Issue Date April 2011
Volume 22
Issue 2
Page Numbers 47-61
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China has the world’s largest Internet market with over 400 million people online. Chinese government has established the world’s most extensive, sophisticated, and technologically advanced online censorship system. This article aims to contribute to a deeper understanding of the Internet’s political impact by mapping out the dynamics of “domination and resistance” as well as citizen mobilization, and interpreting political discourse created by Chinese netizens. How are tech-savvy “information brokers” expanding free-information flow through the Great Firewall? What local issues generate online resonance and became national “internet events”? And what role are prominent bloggers playing in setting the national media agenda? This article also explains how online activism gradually undermines the values and ideology that reproduce compliance with the Chinese Communist Party’s authoritarian regime, and, as such, force an opening for free expression and civil society in China.

About the Author

Xiao Qiang is research scientist and director of the Counter-Power Lab at the University of California–Berkeley’s School of Information. He is also founder and editor-in-chief of the China Digital Times. Between 1991 and 2002, he served as executive director of Human Rights in China, an NGO based in New York.

View all work by Xiao Qiang