1st Edition

China's Information and Communications Technology Revolution Social changes and state responses

Edited By Xiaoling Zhang, Yongnian Zheng Copyright 2009
    174 Pages 18 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    176 Pages 18 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    In recent years, China has experienced a revolution in information and communications technology (ICT), in 2003 surpassing the USA as the world’s largest telephone market, and as of February 2008, the number of Chinese Internet users has become the largest in the world. At the same time, China has overtaken the USA as the world’s biggest supplier of information technology goods. However, this transformation has occurred against the backdrop of a resolutely authoritarian political system and strict censorship by the Party-state. This book examines China’s ICT revolution, exploring the social, cultural and political implications of China’s transition to a more information-rich and communication-intensive society. The pace of the development of ICT in China has precipitated much speculation about political change and democratisation. This book explores the reality of ICT in China, showing clearly that whilst China remains a one-party state, with an ever-present and sophisticated regime of censorship, substantial social and political changes have taken place. It considers the ICT revolution in all its aspects, outlining the dominant trends, the impact on other countries of China as an ICT exporter, strategies of government censorship and use of ICT for propaganda, the implications of censorship for Chinese governance, the political implications of internet culture and blogging, and the role of domestic and foreign NGOs. Overall, this book is a vital resource for anyone seeking to understand a rapidly transforming China, both today and in the years to come.

    Introduction - YONGNIAN ZHENG AND XIAOLING ZHANG. 1. Historical Imagination in the Study of Chinese Digital Civil Society - GUOBIN YANG. 2. Dancing Thumbs: Mobile Telephony in Contemporary China - ZHENZHI GUO AND MEI WU. 3. Regulating E Gao: Futile efforts of recentralization? - BINGCHUN MENG. 4. In the Name of Good Governance: E-Government, Internet Pornography, and Political Censorship in China - GUOGUANG WU. 5. Chinese Intellectuals and Internet in the Formation of a New Collective Memory - JUNHUA ZHANG. 6. From "Foreign Propaganda" to "International Communication": China’s Promotion of Soft Power in the Age of Information and Communication Technologies - XIAOLING ZHANG. 7. Web Engineering in the Chinese Context: "Let a Hundred Flowers Bloom, a Hundred Schools of Thought Contend" - KIERON O’HARA. 8. The Political Cost of Information Control in China: The Nation-State and Governance - YONGNIAN ZHENG.


    Xiaoling Zhang is a lecturer in the School of Contemporary Chinese Studies, the University of Nottingham, UK. She researches on the transformation of media, culture and society in China. Yongnian Zheng is Professor and Director of Research in the School of Contemporary Chinese Studies, University of Nottingham, UK. He is the author of 13 books, including Technological Empowerment, De Facto Federalism in China, Discovering Chinese Nationalism in China and Globalization and State Transformation in China, and co-editor of, amongst other books, The Chinese Communist Party in Reform.

    "In short, this is a useful and concise volume that covers most important issues related to the politics of China’s Internet...Those who need an introduction to the Internet or to brush up before giving a related lecture would do well to read this collection." -- Barrett L. McCormick, Pacific Affairs: Volume 83, No. 3 – September 2010

    "A valuable scholarly contribution... In reading through the book's diverse chapters, students of Chinese politics and telecommunications policy will gain valuable insights into how the Chinese government developed its current approach to regulating, shaping and embracing ICTs. The papers raise important questions, not only about the CCP's strategies and challenges in managing ICTs, but also about China's challenge to the future of the global Internet's technical architecture and governance as its Western inventors originally conceived it." - Rebecca MacKinnon, New America Foundation, Washington DC, The China Journal, No. 65, January 2011