Authoritarian Informationalism: China’s Approach to Internet Sovereignty

Min Jiang

University of Pennsylvania – Center for Global Communication Studies
SAIS Review of International Affairs, Vol. 30, No. 2, pp. 71-89, 2010

In light of the Google-China conflict, this article discusses the issue of Internet sovereignty and, in particular, draws attentions to the various sources of regime legitimacy that undergird the Chinese government’s claim to Internet sovereignty. By building and promoting state legitimacy in economy, nationalism, ideology, culture, and governance, Beijing has been arguably successful in gaining popular compliance and cementing its political rule despite grassroots challenges. In the foreseeable future, China’s Internet policies will continue to reflect an Internet development and regulatory model – authoritarian informationalism – that combines elements of capitalism, authoritarianism, and Confucianism.

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