Popular protests are on the rise in China. However, since protesters rely on existing channels of participation and on patronage by elite backers, the state has been able to stymie attempts to generalize resistance and no large scale political movements have significantly challenged party rule. Yet the Chinese state is not monolithic. Decentralization has increased the power of local authorities, creating space for policy innovations and opening up the political opportunity structure. Popular protest in China - particularly in urban realm- not only benefits from the political fragmentation of the state, but also from the political communications revolution. The question of how and to what extent the internet can be used for mobilizing popular resistance in China is hotly debated. The government, virtual social organizations, and individual netizens both cooperate and compete with each other on the web. New media both increases the scope of the mobilizers and the mobilized (thereby creating new social capital), and provides the government with new means of social control (thereby limiting the political impact of the growing social capital). This volume is the first of its kind to assess the ways new media influence the mobilization of popular resistance and its possible effects in China today.
Lisheng Dong is Professor and Dean of the Department of Government Policy and Public Management of the Graduate School of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing. He has published numerous books, refereed articles and book chapters in the fields of public administration and governance, political integration in East Asia, as well as on government reforms in China. He is the lead editor of China and the European Union (Routledge, 2013), and the 2012 co-recipient of the Pierre de Celles Award of the International Association of Schools and Institutes of Administration. Hanspeter Kriesi holds the Stein Rokkan Chair in Comparative Politics at the European University Institute in Florence. Previously he taught at the universities of Amsterdam, Geneva and Zurich. He was the director of the Swiss national research program Challenges to democracy in the 21st century from 2005-2012. He is the lead author of Democracy in the age of globalization and mediatization (Palgrave McMillan, 2013) and has published numerous books, journal articles and book chapters on political communication, social movements, as well as comparative politics. Daniel KÃ¼bler is Professor of Political Science and Director of the Centre for Democracy Studies at the University of Zurich. Since 2012, he has been the director of the Swiss national research program Challenges to democracy in the 21st century. He has co-edited The Political Ecology of the Metropolis (ECPR Press, 2013) and authored numerous articles and book chapters related to questions of metropolitan governance, urban democracy, public administration and public policy analysis.
’This edited book offers readers a fascinating story of how Chinese citizens use new social media to engage with political matters and activism. It provides a thorough analysis of Chinese internet activism by providing a new set of data and several rich, detailed case studies. It is a must-read book for anyone who wants to understand urban mobilization, popular protests and new social media in contemporary China. I strongly recommend it as a textbook for graduate courses on Chinese politics, social movements and new media politics.’ Baogang He, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore