China and the internet: expanding on Lessig's regulation nightmares

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This paper focuses on the Internet policies of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). It discusses the ways the governing Communist Party of the PRC manipulates factors that regulate behaviour online to an extent that actually enables it to control the flows and content of information and subsequently, also, the politicisation of the Internet community. Consequently, such practices enable the ruling regime to maintain the status quo, allowing only minor, localised modifications to its policies and avoiding major political and ideological ruptures. The essay discusses the Internet conditions in China through the prism of Prof. Lawrence Lessig’s theory, adopting the same quadripartite system for analysing regulatory factors in relation to cyberspace
behaviours. The analysis further demonstrates how the ruling party is realising
Lessig’s fears in relation to the four identified categories of regulatory modalities and also how the government even adopts additional measures in order to preserve and extend its control through implicit, as well as aggressive tactics. The ultimate goal of this paper is to demonstrate how China might be formulating its own model of Internet governance and how this model might be gaining more power, becoming capable of eliminating, controlling or co-opting any serious challenges to it from internal and external influences.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)150-172
Number of pages23
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2012


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