Technological Empowerment

Technological Empowerment

The Internet, State, and Society in China

Book - 2008
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Will new technologies, especially the Internet, bring freedom and democracy to authoritarian China? This book argues that the internet has brought new dynamics of sociopolitical change in China, not always supportive of democracy.
Will new information technologies, especially the Internet, bring freedom and democracy to authoritarian China? This study argues that the Internet has brought about new dynamics of socio-political changes in China, and that state power and social forces are transforming in Internet-mediated public space. Its findings are fourfold. First, the Internet empowers both the state and society. The Internet has played an important role in facilitating political liberalization, and made government more open, transparent, and accountable. Second, the Internet produces enormous effects which are highly decentralized and beyond the reach of state power. Third, the Internet has created a new infrastructure for the state and society in their engagement with (and disengagement from) each other. Fourth, the Internet produces a recursive relationship between state and society. The interactions between the state and society over the Internet end up reshaping both the state and society.

Book News
Zheng (The China Policy Institute, Nottingham U., UK) analyzes the impact of the Internet on the relationship between the state and social forces in China. His study emphasizes that the state may be able to exercise considerable control over the Internet and also able to use it to mobilize social forces, but that it must also constantly readjust its efforts in response to unforeseen challenges from social forces, such as in the case of state allowance for online nationalism that aided the organization of massive anti-Japanese protests that threatened to escape the control of the government or as in the case of planned economic transformation leading to online spaces that prove near impossible to monitor effectively. He also emphasizes the need to disaggregate the competing actors and groups within the state and society in order to understand the online relationship between them. Annotation ©2008 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

Publisher: Stanford, Calif. : Stanford University Press, c2008
ISBN: 9780804757379
Characteristics: xx, 246 p. : ill. ; 24 cm


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