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Chinese Cybersecurity and Cyberdefense by Daniel Ventre

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3

China’s Adaptive Internet Management Strategy after the Emergence of Social Networks

China’s central government welcomed, to some extent, the development of new information and communications technology within the national territory because it is seen as necessary for the economic development and opening up of the country, which remains the very top priority of the Communist Party of China (CPC). Beijing had no other choice but to accept the Internet within its borders, although it represented a political risk from the moment it was first introduced in the early 1990s.

The development of the Internet in China was fast-paced, growing from 22.5 million users in early 2001 to more than 500 million 10 years later (official estimates). In a country dominated by state-owned media, the Internet quickly became the main source of information and discussion for the most connected part of the population (most often the urban middle class). Tricks such as the use of proxies for bypassing the Great Firewall, the main censorship instrument, became well-known among the younger part of Internet users.1 Posting videos, online comments, and updating personal blogs became a popular daily practice for many users. In this context, the CPC constantly tried to adapt its censorship tools to the latest technological developments, and succeeded to a certain extent in keeping control of the Web.

This chapter considers – from a non-technical viewpoint – the overall development of the Internet and social ...

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