China’s Internet Governance
Moderator: Ang Peng Hwa, Director, Singapore Internet Research Centre, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
- “A Fully Automated Method to Catch and Characterize Deleted Posts on Sina and Tencent Weibo.” Cedric Sam, YY Chan, D. Bandurski, Fu King Wa, University of Hong Kong.
- “Impact of China on Global Internet Governance in Era of Privatized Control.” Severine Arsene, Yahoo-Fellow-In-Residence, Georgetown University.
- “Reconsidering Community Medium in Context of Internet.” Fei Jiang, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences; Kuo Huang, China International Publishing Group.
- “Laws and Economics of Governance?” Benjamin Chiao, Henry Ling-Hu, Shanghai University of Finance & Economics.
In the first panel, scholars from the U.S , China, Hong Kong and Europe shared their recent research and observations on China’s Internet governance.
Fu King Wa from Hong Kong University had a fully automated method to catch and characterize deleted posts on Sina Weibo by gathering a list of about 300,000 profiles of users with more than 1,000 followers. Their software tool regularly compared users’ postings to see if messages were deleted, which allowed them to identify the hot issues and sensitive words.
They found people manufactured new terms, alluding to obviously sensitive words to avoid triggering the filtering system.
Severine Arsene, from Science Po in Paris, talked about how modernization plays a role in Chinese government’s propaganda and also private control. She pointed out that a wealthy, stable and decent society is the image the Chinese government wants to shape for its domestic and international audience. By formal regulations such licensing, domain names and a “real name” system as well as informal censorship practices such as filtering phone calls and associations, the Chinese government is able to manage online image.
Arsene also touched on the topic of Internet sovereignty, Internet geopolitics and global governance. The conclusion was that the Chinese government makes it clear that Internet sovereignty should be respected and protected while the government maintains control. But beyond that, China is also active in conquering virtual territory outside of China, trying to extend Chinese influence with more domain names.
Fei Jiang, shared his thoughts on tri-dimensional “grey zones,” referring to the less-developed areas in China where TV signals and Internet access are not available, and the lack of coverage for local and community affairs. The Internet prosperity in China provides technical support for eliminating the communication “grey zone” from the perspective of information acquisition and knowledge production.
Jiang found that the transition from an acquaintance society to commercial residential building leads to a transition from communication mass communication to interpersonal communication. As a result, the Internet becomes a new entry point as a community medium