Managing digital contention in China


This paper explores new developments in cyber content management strategies in China by highlighting the rise of participatory, peer-to-peer censoring practices, and examining how the People's Daily have responded to the contentious events in the top 20 public opinion incidents of 2016, to illustrate how official media uses different types of management strategies to mediate and demobilise contention, on top of information containment strategies such as censorship. I also discuss briefly the creation of a Digital United Front which seeks to incorporate social influencers and cyber elites into mainstream political institutions such as the CPPCC. Not only do these strategies further undermine the formation of a political locus opposite the state, they continue to subsume previously oppositional narratives into grander narratives of stability and national progress. Online political participation in Chinese cyberspace must seek further paternalistic protection from Party authorities in order to legitimise their contention. Although this strengthens the Party-state's claim to legitimacy, ultimately this weakens the emergence of civil society in China as the only form of contention that can survive is those that are legitimised by the Party-state, and the political space oppositional to the state remain closed off.

Publication DOI:
Divisions: College of Business and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences & Humanities > Politics, History and International Relations
College of Business and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences & Humanities > Aston Centre for Europe
College of Business and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences & Humanities
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis Group in Journal of Cyber Policy on 7 April 2020, available online at:
Uncontrolled Keywords: Censorship,China,internet governance,Social Sciences(all)
Publication ISSN: 2373-8898
Full Text Link:
Related URLs: https://www.tan ... rnalCode=rcyb20 (Publisher URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2020-12
Published Online Date: 2020-04-07
Accepted Date: 2020-02-27
Authors: Miao, Ying (ORCID Profile 0000-0001-9405-6387)



Version: Accepted Version

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