Rebecca MacKinnon: Is Web2.0 a wash for free speech in China? Lately I’ve given a few talks around town titled “Will the Chinese Communist Party Survive the Internet?” My answer – for the short and medium term at least – is “yes.”
Western media pundits and many policymakers have a tendency to assume that the Internet will ultimately bring democracy to China. As for the long run, I think China will change. But I doubt China’s political evolution will follow the same pattern as the West. I am not convinced that, if China eventually becomes more pluralistic, it will necessarily involve the same political structures as Western democracies. Lately I’ve been wondering whether the Internet and mobile technologies could be major contributing factors to why China will evolve differently.