Two oversimplified narratives have long dominated news reports and academic studies of China’s Internet: one lauding its potentials to boost commerce, the other bemoaning state control and measures against the forces of political transformations. This bifurcation obscures the complexity of the dynamic forces operating on the Chinese Internet and the diversity of Internet-related phenomena. China and the Internet analyzes how Chinese activists, NGOs, and government offices have used the Internet to fight rural malnutrition, the digital divide, the COVID-19 pandemic, and other urgent problems affecting millions of people. It presents five theoretically informed case studies of how new media have been used in interventions for development and social change, including how activists battled against COVID-19. In addition, this book applies a Communication for Development approach to examine the use and impact of China’s Internet. Although it is widely used internationally in Internet studies, Communication for Development has not been rigorously applied in studies of China’s Internet. This approach offers a new perspective to examine the Internet and related phenomena in Chinese society.
1. Introduction 2. Connecting Every Village Project: Government Engagement in ICT for Development 3. The NGO 2.0 Project: Using New Media for the Empowerment of NGOs 4. Tiger Gate: A New Media Action for Government Accountability 5. Free Lunches: Activist, NGO, and State Collaboration in Development and Social Change 6. Contention and Reciprocity in the Free Lunch Project: Complex and Multi-dimensional Relations between Activists, the State, and Corporations 7. NCP Life Support Network: New Media Actions against Covid-19 8. Conclusion Bibliography Index
SONG SHI is a teaching assistant professor in the School of Computing and Information and the School of Arts & Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh. Since 2010, he has been the associate director of the New Media Action Lab at MIT. He has been engaged in Internet research over the past fifteen years, with intimate ties to many of the activists and NGOs analyzed in this book.
"Documentarily exact, methodologically rigorous, and commandingly timely, China and the Internet offers a welcome example of grounded research that scholars in media and development studies will do well to follow, regardless of their regional foci or preferences."
~Briankle G. Chang, author of Deconstructing Communication: Subject, Representation, and Economies of Exchange