Authoritarian Informationalism: China’s Approach to Internet Sovereignty

Nov. 10, 2011, 9:31 p.m.

Min Jiang has published an article in the SAIS Review entitled, Authoritarian Informationalism: China’s Approach to Internet Sovereignty.

In light of the Google-China conflict, this article discusses the issue of Internet sovereignty and, in particular, draws attentions to the various sources of regime legitimacy that undergird the Chinese government’s claim to Internet sovereignty. By building and promoting state legitimacy in economy, nationalism, ideology, culture, and governance, Beijing has been arguably successful in gaining popular compliance and cementing its political rule despite grassroots challenges. In the foreseeable future, China’s Internet policies will continue to reflect an Internet development and regulatory model - authoritarian informationalism - that combines elements of capitalism, authoritarianism, and Confucianism. Engagement with the regime’s cyber policies and its Internet users needs to recognize not only the demand to tear down the Great Firewall, but also the larger Chinese populace’s aspiration for economic growth, social stability as well as greater transparency, accountability, and freedom.

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