Information as a Source of Pressure: Local Government and Information Management in China


Abstract


Authoritarian governments commonly control information flow to prevent the exposure of regime-damaging issues and to forestall collective actions against the regime. Authoritarian governments are claimed to enjoy advantages in information control when they possess resources and new technologies. However, these advantages do not necessarily alleviate the pressure information management faced by authoritarian governments. Using the case of China, this study shows that information management involves not only the central government but also local governments. Local authorities encounter challenges in information management because of the financial pressure of maintaining the information-collection. In addition, they also face difficulties and costs when they act upon the information they have collected.

 


DOI Code: 10.1285/i20398573v5n2p477

Keywords: China, information, management

References


Battaglia, G 2017, “Beijing migrant worker evictions: the four-character word you can’t say anymore,” South China Morning Post, December 3.

Bialer, S, 1980, Stalin’s Successors: Leadership, Stability and Change in the Soviet Union. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1980).

Cai, Y 2014, State and Agents in China: Disciplining Government Officials, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2014).

Cai, Y 2010, Collective Resistance: Why Popular Protests Succeed or Fail, Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Cai, Y 2008, “Power Structure and Regime Resilience: Contentious Politics in Chi-na,” British Journal of Political Science, vol. 38, no. 2, pp. 411-432.

Cai Y, Zhou, T 2019, “Online Political Participation in China: Local Government and Differentiated Response,” China Quarterly, vol. 238, pp. 331-352.

Chen, J, Pan, J, Xu, Y 2016, “Sources of Authoritarian Responsiveness: A Field Experiment in China,” American Journal of Political Science, vol. 60, no. 2, pp. 383-400.

Chen J, Xu, Y 2017, “Why do authoritarian regimes allow citizens to voice opinion publicly?” Journal of Politics, vol. 79, no 3, pp. 792–803.

Chen, S 2018, “How tensions with the West are putting the future of China’s Skynet mass surveillance system at stake,” South China Morning Post, September 23, 2018.

Dai, L 2019, “Shantie yewu bianxing ji” (Report on the transformed business of message deletion), Fazhi zhoumo (Rule-of-Law Weekend), November 20.

Diamond, L 2010, “Liberation Technology,” Journal of Democracy, vol. 21, no. 3, pp. 69-83.

Dou, E, 2017, “Jailed for a Text: China’s Censors Are Spying on Mobile Chat Groups,” Wall Street Journal, December 8.

Fan, W, Khan, N, Lin, L 2017, “China Snares Innocent and Guilty Alike to Build World’s Biggest DNA Database,” Wall Street Journal, December 26.

Fedor, L and Shepherd, C 2019, “Leaks Offer Glimpse inside China’s Detention Camps,” Financial Times, November 15.

Feng, E 2017, “China authorities mandated to collect DNA from Xinjiang resi-dents,” Financial Times, December 13.

Feng, E 2018, “Security spending ramped up in China’s restive Xinjiang region,” Financial Times, March 13.

France-Presse, A 2017, “ Chinese artist who documented migrant evictions in Bei-jing released on bail,” South China Morning Post, December 18.

France-Presse, A 2018, “China’s hi-tech police state in fractious Xinjiang a boon for security firms,” South China Morning Post, June 27.

Gunisky, S, 2015 (a), “Corrupting the cyber-commons: Social media as a tool of autocratic stability,” Perspectives on Politics, vol. 13, no. 1, pp. 42-54.

Han, R 2015 (b), “Defending the authoritarian regime online: China’s ‘voluntary fifty-cent army’,” The China Quarterly, vol. 224, pp. 1006–25.

Han, R 2015, Manufacturing consent in cyberspace: China’s ‘fifty-cent army’.” Journal of Current Chinese Affairs, vol. 44, no. 2, pp. 105–134.

Havel, V, 1997, “The Power of the Powerless: Citizens against the State in Central Eastern Europe,” in M Rahnema and V Bawtree (eds.), The Post-Development Reader, New Jersey: Zed Books, pp. 336-353.

Hornby, L 2016, “China reverts to ‘grid management’ to monitor citizens’ lives,” Financial Times, April 3.

King, G, Pan, J, Roberts, M 2013, “How Censorship in China Allows Government Criticism but Silences Collective Expression,” American Political Science Review, vol. 107, no. 2, pp. 1-18.

King, G, Pan, J, Roberts, M, 2017, “How the Chinese government fabricates social media posts for strategic distraction, not engaged argument,” American Political Science Review, vol. 111, no. 3, pp. 484-501.

Kotkin, S, 2008, Armageddib Averted: Soviet Collapse 1970-2000, New York: Oxford University Press, 2008), p. 173.

Kuran, T, 1991, “Now out of Never: The Element of Surprise in the East Europe-an Revolution of 1989,” World Politics, vol. 44, no. 1, pp. 7-48.

Li, L 2004, “Political Trust in Rural China,” Modern China, vol. 30, no. 2, pp. 228-258.

Liu, J and Wang X 2017, “In Your Face: China’s all-seeing state,” http://www.bbc.com/ news/av/world-asia-china-42248056/in-your-face-china-s-all-seeing-state, viewed 22 December 2017.

Lorentzen, L, 2014, “China’s strategic censorship.” American Journal of Political Science, vol. 58, no. 2 , pp. 402–414.

MacKinnon, R, 2011, “China’s ‘Networked Authoritarianism’,” Journal of Democracy, vol. 22, no. 2, pp. 32-46.

Morozov, E, 2011, The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom, New York: PublicAffairs.

Pan, Q, 2016, “Guojia xinfangju: wangshang xinfang zheng zubu chengwei xinfang zhu qudao” (Online petitions are becoming the main channel of petitions), 27 June, viewed on 16 July 2016, http://politics.people.com.cn/n/2015/0627/c100127217827.html.

People.com 2017, “Difang lingdao liuyan” (Messages for local leaders), 6 June 2017, viewed 10 December 2018, http://leaders.people.com.cn/n1/2017/0606/c178291-29319922.html.

Roberts, M 2018, Censored: Distraction and Diversion Inside China’s Great Firewall, Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Shih, G 2017, “In western China, thought police instill fear,” Washington Post, De-cember 17.

Southern Metropolis Post 2010, “Gansu jiang zujian 650 ren de wangluo pinglun yuan duiwu” (Gansu is to form a team of 650 commentators), Nanfang duishi bao, January 20.

Su, Z and Meng, T 2016, “Selective responsiveness: online public demands and government responsiveness in authoritarian China.” Social Science Research, vol. 59, no. 4, 52–67.

The Associated Press, “Secret documents reveal how China mass detention camps work”, November 25, 2019, https://apnews.com/4ab0b341a4ec4e648423f2ec47ea5c47

Tong, Y, Lei, S 2013, “War of Positon and Microblogging in China,” Journal of Con-temporary China, vol. 22, no. 80, pp. 292-311.

Wintrobe, R 1988, The Political Economy of Dictatorship, New York: Cambridge Uni-versity Press.

Wintrobe, R 2001, “How to understand, and deal with dictatorship: an economist’s view,” Economics of Governance, no. 2, pp. 35-58

Xinhuanet 2010, “Xinhua wang 2007 niandu youxiu wangping ren pingxuan jiexiao” (The selection of excellent online commentators is publicized), 9 January 2008, viewed on 27 March 2010, http://news.xinhuanet.com/ comments/2008-01/09/content_7382996.htm.

Yang, G 2009. The Power of the Internet in China: Citizen Activism Online, New York: Columbia University Press.

Yu, J 2005, “Zhongguo xinfang zhidu pipan” (Criticisms of the petition system in China), Zhongguo gaige (China Reform), no. 2, pp. 26-28.

Zenz, A 2018, “China’s Domestic Security Spending: An Analysis of Available Data,” viewed on 25 March 2019 https://jamestown.org/program/chinas-domestic-security-spending-analysis-available-data/

Zheng, Y 2008, Technological Empowerment: The Internet, State, and Society in Chin Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

Zhou T, Cai, X forthcoming, “How are the Exposed Disciplined? Media and Political Accountability in China,” Journal of Contemporary China.


Full Text: pdf

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.