Government-Dominated Governance and the Double-Edged Sword: A Critical Review of the Chinese Academic Discourse on Internet Regulation

Ran Liu, a graduate student in Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania, discusses her most recent research on Internet policy scholarship in China.

In recent years, academia’s interest in the Chinese Internet, especially its potential for promoting social movements, democracy and human rights, has increased. However, when it comes to Internet policy and governance scholarship, Chinese scholars are overshadowed by the English-dominated academic world. Compared to their Western counterparts, articles published in Chinese are found to be more conservative, less theoretical, and less focused on the political consequences of the Internet (Qiu & Bu, 2013; Wei, 2009).

To enrich global narratives of Internet policy with an often-overlooked angle, I recently critically examined and analyzed current scholarship on Internet policy written in Chinese and published in Mainland China. Using a research sample of 226 Internet governance articles developed from the Chinese National Knowledge Institution Database (CNKI)[1] my findings address major questions including: What is the major discourse constructed around Internet policy, and who are the major architects in Chinese scholarship? Is there a debate happening among Chinese scholars as China is an authoritarian regime? Does Chinese scholarship provide a different story from international narratives about Internet?

Photo Credit: chenyingphoto

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