Virtual China: The Internet as Threat or Opportunity? A Response

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Abstract:

With China set to overtake the United States as the world's largest Internet market, Gary D. Rawnsley focuses on a very interesting and equally important topic. ... While I agree that modern communications present new and significant challenges to the party's monopoly of power, the fact that the party continues to rule unchallenged ten years after the introduction of the Internet indicates that we need to reconsider some assumptions about the power of the Internet. For the rest of this paper, I would like to call into question the underlying assumption of Rawnsley's paper, namely that China's authoritarian system of governance is incompatible with a market-based economy and that the power of the Internet (information) will ultimately lead to modernisation. I will do so by briefly discussing demographics and bloggers, resilient authoritarianism and political discourse. ...

Document Type: Discussion

Publication date: May 1, 2007

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  • The St Antony's International Review (STAIR) is the only peer-reviewed journal of international affairs at the University of Oxford. Set up by graduate students of St Antony's College in 2005, the Review has carved out a distinctive niche as a cross-disciplinary outlet for research on the most pressing contemporary global issues, providing a forum in which emerging scholars can publish their work alongside established academics and policymakers. Past contributors include Robert O. Keohane, James N. Rosenau, and Alfred Stepan.
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