Development of a civic society online? : Internet vigilantism and state control in Chinese cyberspace

David Kurt Herold

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic research


The number of Internet users is growing exponentially in China and Chinese netizens are slowly developing social groupings online that influence events and situations in the “real” world. The Chinese government is predictably wary of these developments as an emerging community of netizens is increasingly becoming aware of its great potential influence. Over the past two years (2006 and 2007) an uneasy unofficial truce has emerged so that netizens are relatively free to criticize and discuss local issues or events, while the central government suppresses everything it regards as excessive criticism or as an attack against the ruling party. Chinese netizens seem to have accepted these conditions to a large extent, and often explicitly support the central government while attacking local officials, businesses, institutions, etc. or even other netizens perceived to have broken the unwritten rules of Chinese Cyberspace.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-37
Number of pages12
JournalAsia journal of global studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • Internet
  • China

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