How Censorship in China Allows Government Criticism but Silences Collective Expression

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How Censorship in China Allows Government Criticism but Silences Collective Expression

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Title: How Censorship in China Allows Government Criticism but Silences Collective Expression
Author: King, Gary ORCID  0000-0002-5327-7631 ; Pan, Jennifer Jie; Roberts, Margaret Earling

Note: Order does not necessarily reflect citation order of authors.

Citation: King, Gary, Jennifer Pan, and Margaret E. Roberts. 2013. How censorship in China allows government criticism but silences collective expression. American Political Science Review 107(02): 326–343.
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Research Data: http://dx.doi.org/10.7910/DVN1/22691
Abstract: We offer the first large scale, multiple source analysis of the outcome of what may be the most extensive effort to selectively censor human expression ever implemented. To do this, we have devised a system to locate, download, and analyze the content of millions of social media posts originating from nearly 1,400 different social media services all over China before the Chinese government is able to find, evaluate, and censor (i.e., remove from the Internet) the large subset they deem objectionable. Using modern computer-assisted text analytic methods that we adapt to and validate in the Chinese language, we compare the substantive content of posts censored to those not censored over time in each of 85 topic areas. Contrary to previous understandings, posts with negative, even vitriolic, criticism of the state, its leaders, and its policies are not more likely to be censored. Instead, we show that the censorship program is aimed at curtailing collective action by silencing comments that represent, reinforce, or spur social mobilization, regardless of content. Censorship is oriented toward attempting to forestall collective activities that are occurring now or may occur in the future --- and, as such, seem to clearly expose government intent.
Published Version: doi:10.1017/s0003055413000014
Other Sources: http://j.mp/1vWyjLB
Terms of Use: This article is made available under the terms and conditions applicable to Open Access Policy Articles, as set forth at http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:dash.current.terms-of-use#OAP
Citable link to this page: http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:11878767
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