Chinese Internet Freedom in a Comparative Perspective

Jun 21st, 2015
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Over the past generation, the influence of internet-based communications as a means of disseminating news and information has steadily expanded worldwide.

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Chinese Internet Freedom in a Comparative PerspectiveSelect Findings from Freedom House's 2009 Freedom on the Net IndexBy Karin Deutsch Karlekar and Sarah G. Cook1Submission prepared for 7th Chinese Internet Research ConferenceAnnenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania, May 27-29, 2009IntroductionOver the past generation, the influence of internet-based communications as a means of disseminating news and information has steadily expanded worldwide. The internet has become the principal alternative and challenger to media hegemony in systems where media control has been the standard, as well as a vital tool for mobilization for civil society around the world. Fearing the power of these new technologies, however, governments have responded with subtle and not-so-subtle measures to control, regulate, and censor the content of blogs, websites, and text messages. China, with the world's largest population of internet users-300 million at the beginning of 2009-has not escaped such global dynamics. Rather, as has been documented in media reports, analysis by human rights groups, and personal testimonies of ordinary users, China's government is among those to have taken measures to block internet content and imprison individuals for their online activities, while Chinese users have shown incredible creativity in seeking to circumvent such controls. Given the diversity, complexity, and sheer size of the online environment in China, however, analysis on

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