This book discusses the use of the internet in China, the complicated power relations in online political communications, and the interactions and struggles between the government and the public over the use of the internet. It argues that there is a "semi-structured" online public sphere, in which there is a certain amount of equal and liberal political communication, but that the online political debates are also limited by government control and censorship, as well as by inequality and exclusions, and moreover that the government rarely engages in the political debates. Based on extensive original research, and considering specific debates around particular issues, the book analyses how Chinese net-users debate about political issues, how they problematize the government’s actions and policies, what language they use, what online discourses are produced, and how the debates and online discourses are limited. Overall, the book provides a rich picture of the current state of online political communication in China.
The Chinese Internet