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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The business of censorship : content management and the Chinese economy Clark, Joshua


Content control and censorship on the Internet are increasingly important topics for scholars of democratization, media and communications. Most studies have examined the relationship between the Internet, content management and various elements important to democratization such as the formation of civil society organizations. This thesis attempts to expand this discussion by examining the effects of online content management on economic systems, using the People's Republic of China as an example. China features a globally integrated economy that is increasing dependent on manufacturing and services while simultaneously maintaining one of the most extensive online content management systems in the world. This paper attempts to show how the Communist Party of China is able to reconcile the need for connectivity in order to drive their economy while maintaining political control. It also discusses the long-term implications of this strategy. The first section consists of a series of quantitative and qualitative tests to determine how various classes of websites are managed. These tests reveal that in order to maintain the flow of information necessary for a globally integrated economy, the Chinese Communist Party utilizes strategies that manage but not block the information flows related to business. This survey is followed by a case study examining the relationship between Google and China, and the implications of Chinese regulation and control for the broader economy. The results indicate that the Chinese regulatory strategy, which is designed to meet political goals, is creating a divergent technology industry that caters to the party's needs. This development may have serious implications for the future of the Chinese globalization effort as it poses a threat to interoperability and exchange between Chinese online presences and those in the rest of the world.

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