Xiao Qiang, an adjunct professor at the Graduate School of Journalism of the University of California–Berkeley argues that since the internet era started in China, the government has gradually becoming more transparent. He believes “the Internet has become a training ground for citizen participation in public affairs.” In the sense that people become more informed and more engaged with governments as well as its politics.
Qiang sees that “the current government is learning to adapt to these new circumstances and becoming more responsive. Already we are starting to see compromise, negotiation, and rule-changing behavior in the regime’s response to this challenge, indicating the possibility of better governance with greater citizen participation. From this perspective, the Internet is not just a contested space, but a catalyst for social and political transformation.”
After reading the following article, to some extent I share the same thought with Qiang. It was the netizens who discovered that the search term “Zhao Ziyang” appears in Baidu Encyclopedia, a web-based Chinese encyclopedia. It is a heavily self-censored site. But when the politically sensitive search terms “Zhao Ziyang” or “June Fourth” are entered into Baidu search engine, more than one million results show up.
A volunteer from Tianwang Human Rights Center said that the event doesn’t represent any decreasing whatsoever of the China’s Internet censorship. He believes it was only a technical adjustment and soon will be blocked.
Well, both arguments still need to be tested. Will the Chinese government will compromise on its censorship policy or else? Only time will tell. You can read the article here.