Synopses & Reviews
Since the mid-1990s, the Internet has revolutionized popular expression in China, enabling users to organize, protest, and influence public opinion in unprecedented ways. Despite efforts to control these activities, online activism has been an agent of immense social change, allowing common citizens to disseminate content and openly challenge the authority of political and economic elites.
Guobin Yang's pioneering study follows the rise of this dynamic protest and the forces that keep it relevant and unique. Online activism encompasses an innovative range of rituals, genres, and styles, and state efforts to constrain it have only led to more creative acts of subversion. Internet businesses have encouraged these contentious activities, generating an unusual synergy between capitalism and civil organizations that sponsor critique. Based on ten years of meticulous research and grounded in theories of social movements and the public sphere, Yang's study emphasizes the mutual shaping of technology and society and highlights the important role of a transnational diaspora in the making of a Chinese Internet culture. In conclusion, Yang argues that online activism reflects important structural changes in contemporary China and points to a new era of informational politics.
Since the mid-1990s, the Internet has revolutionized popular expression in China, enabling users to organize, protest, and influence public opinion in unprecedented ways. Guobin Yang's pioneering study maps an innovative range of contentious forms and practices linked to Chinese cyberspace, delineating a nuanced and dynamic image of the Chinese Internet as an arena for creativity, community, conflict, and control. Like many other contemporary protest forms in China and the world, Yang argues, Chinese online activism derives its methods and vitality from multiple and intersecting forces, and state efforts to constrain it have only led to more creative acts of subversion. Transnationalism and the tradition of protest in China's incipient civil society provide cultural and social resources to online activism. Even Internet businesses have encouraged contentious activities, generating an unusual synergy between commerce and activism. Yang's book weaves these strands together to create a vivid story of immense social change, indicating a new era of informational politics.