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China's Stunted Internet

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.

2 Comments on “China's Stunted Internet”

  1. #1 JohnofScribbleSheet
    on Dec 4th, 2007 at 6:58 am

    Until a lack of free speech hurts the well being of the Chinese economically, its unlikely the communist party will be brought down.

  2. #2 ScribbleSheet Blog
    on Dec 4th, 2007 at 7:25 am

    [...] Chinese dissidents are turning to email and chat rooms as they are a lot less easy to track and control. This article is definitely worth a read. Check out reactions from the blogosphere here and here. [...]