In recent years, China has experienced a revolution in information and communications technology (ICT), in 2003 surpassing the USA as the world’s largest telephone market, and as of February 2008, the number of Chinese Internet users has become the largest in the world. At the same time, China has overtaken the USA as the world’s biggest supplier of information technology goods. However, this transformation has occurred against the backdrop of a resolutely authoritarian political system and strict censorship by the Party-state. This book examines China’s ICT revolution, exploring the social, cultural and political implications of China’s transition to a more information-rich and communication-intensive society. The pace of the development of ICT in China has precipitated much speculation about political change and democratisation. This book explores the reality of ICT in China, showing clearly that whilst China remains a one-party state, with an ever-present and sophisticated regime of censorship, substantial social and political changes have taken place. It considers the ICT revolution in all its aspects, outlining the dominant trends, the impact on other countries of China as an ICT exporter, strategies of government censorship and use of ICT for propaganda, the implications of censorship for Chinese governance, the political implications of internet culture and blogging, and the role of domestic and foreign NGOs. Overall, this book is a vital resource for anyone seeking to understand a rapidly transforming China, both today and in the years to come
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