Web 2.0 and political engagement in China

Fengshi WU*, Shen YANG

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


This article examines civic and political engagement in contemporary China by three recent cases where activists and citizens take full advantage of interactive information technologies and Web 2.0 tools to overcome obstacles and mobilize for public goods. The cases show how activists act strategically to mobilize mass-based support and use various technologies to ensure monetary transaction, resource allocation, public monitoring, and large-scale inter-organizational coordination. In addition, they also demonstrate how ordinary Chinese citizens take part in innovative civic initiatives, act upon their own decisions, and eventually contribute to the change of a failed policy and the solution to a public problem. Different forms of online mass political engagement have introduced new dynamism to public affairs in China, enhanced social autonomy, and thus can have accumulative impact on the asymmetric power relationship between the authoritarian state and society.

本文列举了三个最新案例 : 在这些案例中,活动分子与市民充分利用了互动信息技术与Web2.0工具,以克服障碍、调用公共产品。通过这些案例,我们检视了当代中国的公民与政治参与情况。这些案例显示了活动分子是如何有策略地采取行动以调动以大众为基础的支持,如何有策略地使用各种技术以确保货币交易、资源配置、公众监督与大规模组织间的协调的。此外,这些案例还展示了普通中国公民是如何参与到创新性公民提议中的,他们是如何自主做决定并最终为纠正针对公共问题所作的错误政策与解决方案而做贡献的。不同形式的大众在线政治参与为中国的公众事务引入了新的动力,加强了社会自治,进而对集权国家与社会之间的权力不对称关系产生了累积式的影响。

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2055-2076
Number of pages22
Issue number5
Early online date28 Jul 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • China
  • Civil society
  • Policy advocacy
  • Political engagement
  • Web 2.0


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