Censorship And The Chinese Communist Party: Sustainable Progress?

2029 words - 9 pages

Censorship and the Chinese Communist Party: Sustainable Progress?

The Communist Party of China despite the perceived benefits of Internet freedom has gone to great lengths to censor information and electronic communication of its people. Spending billions of dollars and a staggering amount of manpower, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) continues to filter its Internet causing human rights activists and political dissidents to cry foul. However, the CCP has successfully found an impossible balance between censoring content they deem subversive while taking away the opportunity for horizontal mobilization against the party all the while still taking an approach that doesn’t completely ban ...view middle of the document...

Since the introduction of the Internet to China in 1994 the CCP has long acknowledged the implications of an uncontrolled Internet as means for horizontal communication. By targeting subversive material in public forums and blogs, the CCP has acknowledged the fact that an unrestrained network may shift power from the Communist Party to the people by creating a forum for collaboration against the CCP (Hachigian, 2011). With the largest Internet user base in the world at almost 500 million “netizens”, the Communist Party of China with the overall goal of maintaining its authority and political sovereignty in a country infiltrated by Western ideals, culture, and political practices has developed the most extensive and sophisticated Internet monitoring system in the world (OpenNet, 2010). In order to protect political sovereignty, the Chinese Communist Party has great incentives to monitor and control its Internet and has been largely successful in strengthening political sovereignty while lessening the possibility of negative political impact.
In the wake of the 2011 Arab Spring, the CCP has focused its efforts into quelling mass organized protests before they occur and have been met with great success in preserving political sovereignty. For example the precursors to The 2011 Jasmine Revolution bore striking resemblances to the revolts against Hosni Mubarak’s Egypt and many argue that the revolutionary air brought on by the Arab Spring directly influenced the horizontal communication that fueled the Jasmine Revolution (Swartz 2011). However, unlike the events that took place in North Africa, the CCP countered dissent with a prompt response that subdued online dissidence by removing key search words and erasing blog posts that called for organization before online communication could manifest into an offline revolt (Swartz 2011). Because of the CCP’s swift response, the growing superpower was able to avoid civil unrest and thus dodged massive economic implications and political upheaval that was seen during the Arab Spring most notably the drying up of foreign investments.
In fact, scholars such as Nina Hachigian argue that the possibility of a power shift brought on by economic or political crises could only come about in a future China where the Internet is more pervasive (Hachigian 2001). Therefore, the political stability in Communist China largely depends on the CCP’s continued success in monitoring and identifying discontent online to prevent future online catalysts that could bolster a successful party challenge (Choy et al. 2004). Because of its monitoring techniques, the CCP can ensure its continual power by removing the possibility of revolt and in avoiding shifts in power as seen with the Arab Spring, can maintain party legitimacy while still providing enough leeway to be a part of the internet boom economically and socially.
In addition to maintaining political sovereignty and party legitimacy, the CCP’s multifaceted...

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