Date of this Version
2012 Jan 17 in The China Beat http://www.thechinabeat.org/
The Chinese internet is a wonderfully raucous and interesting place. It has greatly expanded the scope of public discourse and activity, despite the party-state’s extensive censorship regime. Not surprisingly, the world’s largest cyber-community exhibits tremendous depth and diversity: progressive cyber-activists and professional agitators; navel-gazing starlets and steam-venting gamers; mundane infotainment and the banal waxing of quotidian life; and, sadly, dark corners of fear, hatred and paranoia. It’s all there; it simply depends on where one looks. Like other technologies before it, the internet is normatively neutral, and thus can be put to good, bad and anodyne uses: individuals—not tools—shape the contours of different societies and their cultures.