The Internet in China

Paper presented at the (Mis)Communicating Across Boundaries Conference, 48th Annual Conference of the International Communications Association, Jerusalem, Israel, 20-24 July 1998.

The Internet in China

Internet access is spreading rapidly in China as elsewhere. For many, especially Western observers, this is a paradox: China wants to open its doors to the world, yet open access to a free flow of information is seen as contradictory to, and undermining of, the values and practice of the Party and state. The lack of a developed civil society is used to explain why China is less concerned about the spread of the Internet than many would predict, but we also argue that policy-making processes in China are more complex than a simple axis of closed-open, or propaganda-information. We propose a two-tier bargaining framework (domestic and international) to explain the character of China’s national policies towards the information infrastructure and the Internet, and why many outsiders fail to understand them.

Download the paper here

Photo by Ricardo Rocha

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