Historicizing Online Politics: Telegraphy, the Internet, and Political Participation in China

Historicizing Online Politics: Telegraphy, the Internet, and Political Participation in China

Historicizing Online Politics: Telegraphy, the Internet, and Political Participation in China

Historicizing Online Politics: Telegraphy, the Internet, and Political Participation in China

Synopsis

It is widely recognized that internet technology has had a profound effect on political participation in China, but this new use of technology is not unprecedented in Chinese history. This is a pioneering work that systematically describes and analyzes the manner in which the Chinese used telegraphy during the late Qing, and the internet in the contemporary period, to participate in politics. Drawing upon insights from the fields of anthropology, history, political science, and media studies, this book historicizes the internet in China and may change the direction of the emergent field of Chinese internet studies. In contrast to previous works, this book is unprecedented in its perspective, in the depth of information and understanding, in the conclusions it reaches, and in its methodology. Written in a clear and engaging style, this book is accessible to a broad audience.

Excerpt

This book examines the complex relationships connecting information technology and politics in modern China. It has two parts: the first examines the impacts that telegraphy had on national politics in the last decades of the Qing dynasty, and the second focuses on the Internet and its impact on politics in China since the late 1990s. in retrospect, these two technologies fared quite differently in modern China. When Western countries tried to set up telegraph lines in China in the 1860s, they met strong resistance from the Qing court. It was not until two decades later that China finally set up its telegraph services. China’s attitude toward the Internet has been startlingly different. By all accounts, the development of the Internet in China has been phenomenal, as shown by the number of Internet users, which had increased from a mere 620,000 in October 1997 to 94 million by the end of 2004. in this volume, I aim to historicize the study of the Internet in China by taking the detour of first examining the introduction of telegraphy, and by so doing, revealing the paradigmatic shifts, to borrow Thomas Kuhn’s term, that affect our views on technology and society in China. the first question that needs to be confronted is, why has so much attention been paid to the Internet in China today?

It is safe to say that no other technology has attracted as much attention and been as politicized by observers of contemporary China worldwide as the Internet. the development of the Internet in China is followed closely in Western countries and the increasing number of its users is periodically reported. Government regulations on Internet use are scrutinized and the use of technologies to censor and police the information . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.