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Title: New media, public participation and the Government in China : from the BBS to the Weibo age
Author: Wang, Xi
ISNI:       0000 0004 7653 835X
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2019
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China has seen an ever-accelerating development of information and communication technology (ICT), as well as a growing number of internet users, which has led significant changes in information dissemination and public participation. This study aims to investigate how ICT-mediated public participation influences China's social and political development. It firstly attempts to discuss whether the concept of public sphere can be applied to China's cyberspace by examining technological empowerment. It focuses on investigating in what ways and to what extent social media contribute to public participation in China. More importantly, it aims at providing an in-depth analysis of the ICT-mediated relationships among the three key elements - government, media and public. It then explores the Chinese government's evolving attitudes towards the new media platforms and the ICT-mediated public participation these enable. The scope of the research falls within the period between the BBS and the Weibo age. Three data collection methods are employed: questionnaire survey, semi-structured interviews and case studies. The three case studies are from the years 2003 to 2010, and coincide with the leadership of President Hu Jintao (2003 - 2012). The study indicates the existence of a bottom-up communication approach between the public and government in the Chinese context and concludes that an online public sphere has already been formed in China's cyberspace. A triangular analytical framework of 'government-media-public' interaction has been developed to explain the operational pattern of the Chinese quasi-public sphere. This study provides an in-depth evaluation of the diverse forms of public participation in modern China and is intended to shed light on what impact online public participation can have in an authoritarian country.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available