This book discusses the rich and varied culture of China’s online society, and its impact on offline China. It argues that the internet in China is a separate ‘space’ in which individuals and institutions emerge and interact. While offline and online spaces are connected and influence each other, the Chinese internet is more than merely a technological or media extension of offline Chinese society. Instead of following existing studies by locating online China in offline society, the contributors in this book discuss the carnival of the Chinese internet on its own terms.
Examining the complex relationship between government officials and the people using the Internet in China, this book demonstrates that culture is highly influential in how technology is used. Discussing a wide range of different activities, the contributors examine what Chinese people actually do on the internet, and how their actions can be interpreted within the online society they are creating.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Noise, Spectacle, Politics – Carnival in Chinese Cyberspace – David Kurt Herold
Part I – Creating the Carnival – Netizens and the State
1. Cultural Convulsions – Examining the Chineseness of Cyber China – Wai-chi, Rodney Chu and Chung-tai Cheng
2. The Internet Police in China: Regulation, Scope and Myths – Xiaoyan Chen and Peng Hwa Ang
3. Grassroots agency in a civil sphere? Re-thinking Internet Control in China – Peter Marolt
Part II – Celebrating the Carnival – Fun, Freak-shows, and Masquerades
4. Parody and resistance on the Chinese Internet – Hongmei Li
5. China’s many Internets: Participation and digital game play across a changing technology landscape – Silvia Lindtner and Marcella Szablewicz
6. Lost in virtual carnival and masquerade: In-game marriage on the Chinese Internet – Weihua Wu and Xiying Wang
PART III – Instrumentalising the Carnival – Rioting as Activism
7. Human Flesh Search Engines: Carnivalesque Riots as components of a ‘Chinese Democracy’ – David Kurt Herold
8. In search for motivations: Exploring a Chinese Linux user group – Matteo Tarantino
9. Identity vs. anonymity: Chinese netizens and questions of identifiability – Kenneth Farrall and David Kurt Herold
10. Taking urban conservation online: Chinese civic action groups and the Internet – Nicolai Volland
Conclusion: Netizens and Citizens, Cyberspace and Modern China – David Kurt Herold
David Kurt Herold is a Lecturer for Sociology in the Department for Applied Social Sciences (APSS) at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University.
Peter Marolt is a Research Fellow at the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore.