Qiu_Internet in China - The Internet in China Data and...

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Unformatted text preview: The Internet in China: Data and Issues Jack Linchuan Qiu Working Paper Prepared for Annenberg Research Seminar on International Communication October 1, 2003 Table of Contents The Spirits of Chinese Informationalism ..................................................................................................1 Access, Demographics, and Problems of Diffusion.................................................................................4 Internet and the Developmental State: Endogenous and Exogenous Conditions...................................7 Network of Censors and Its Enemies ......................................................................................................10 Grassroots Identities: Submerge the Constant, Long Live the Ephemeral ...........................................14 Reflections: China and the Networks ......................................................................................................17 1 The Internet in China: Data and Issues This chapter introduces Internet development in the People’s Republic of China (PRC): its diffusion, context, and institutional settings; its economic, political, and cultural components; its relationship with national and global actors; and its implications for the theorization of network societies around the globe. 1 To a comparative end, the case of China is invaluable because, besides its obvious significance, Chinese business networks, as part of the dynamic East Asian economy, “have adapted more rapidly than other areas of the world to the new technologies and to the new forms of global competition” (Castells, 1996:173). Most importantly, the continuing power of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), juxtaposed with high growth rates in economic and technological sectors, calls into question many existing conceptions of technology-society relations formulated in the western context of late capitalism. Is there a network society in China, as seen from the prism of China’s Internet? If so, what is peculiar about this particular set of network formations – in its components, internal structure, and relationship with the external environment? I would take an inductive approach to explore these questions. The Spirits of Chinese Informationalism Unlike Mao’s experiments in creating a new social system, China’s “information revolution” since early 1990s has been discursively less flamboyant. On September 20, 1987, Professor Qian Tianbai sent the first email from China. 2 But the event had been ignored and its slogan-like message – “Beyond the Great Wall, Joining the World ( yueguo changcheng, zouxiang shijie )” – remained unpublicized until after 1994 when Beijing was awestruck by Al Gore’s speech on “Building the Information Superhighway.” Yet China was not far behind in the hi-tech domain. It established the first TCP/IP-capable academic network, the National Computing and Networking Facility of China (NCFC), in April 1994 3 and opened the first public Internet service, ChinaNet, in January 1995.and opened the first public Internet service, ChinaNet, in January 1995....
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Qiu_Internet in China - The Internet in China Data and...

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