The Hundred Flowers Campaign, Version 2.0: The State of Internet Politics in China
AbstractAs China has experienced 30 years of consecutive annual economic growth, Chinese citizens are now enjoying the technological benefits that other developed countries have already discovered. More than 465 million Chinese now own mobile phones and 420 million regularly access the Internet. While Chinese netizens, or Internet-using citizens, express themselves in ways they never could before, the Chinese Communist Party is struggling to keep up with censorship and sponsorship on the web. This has created another “100 Flowers Campaign,” the program through which the Party opened itself up to criticism during the Cultural Revolution. As a consequence, a small minority of civic-minded netizens have pushed the boundaries of government control with varying consequences. In a fascinating show of tolerance, most people in China who criticize government policies on the Internet are simply left alone. This essay will outline the nature of Internet censorship in China, exploring the CCP’s dilemmas in balancing priorities and the freedoms that the Chinese people have gained.
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