Why do Chinese Internet users like government controls?

Deborah Fallows, a senior research fellow at Pew Internet & American Life Project, recently published a short paper packed full of commentary and stats about the Chinese Internet: usage habits, demographics, content, trust in online media, government controls etc.

Fallows' paper summarizes a survey funded by the New York-based Markle Foundation and directed by Mr. Guo Liang and his research team at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Below are some noteworthy excerpts from Fallows' paper:

• "most Chinese say they approve of internet control and management, especially when it comes from their government."

• "over 80% of respondents say they think the internet should be managed or controlled, and in 2007, almost 85% say they think the government should be responsible for doing it."

• "79% of Chinese said internet companies should manage or control the internet, just over two-thirds, 68%, identified parents, 64% schools, and 59% internet cafes."

• "87% of internet users would control or manage pornography; 86% violent content; 83% spam or junk mail; 66% advertisements; 64% slander against individuals."

• "Half of respondents said online games should be controlled, and more than one in four (27%) said online chatting should be controlled."

• "An influential and highly informed group of elite Chinese bloggers continues to test the limits and vigilance of the censors."

• "Declining trust in reliability of online content. Over four years of tracking user reaction, trust in the reliability of online content has fallen by one-half, from 52% in 2003 to 26% now."

• "Only about one-third of internet users (30%) said they considered online content reliable."

• "Three-quarters of respondents deemed reliable most or all the information on government websites, compared with 46% for pages from established media, 28% for results from search engines, 11% for content on bulletin boards and in advertisements, 4% for information from individuals' web pages, and 3% for postings in chat rooms."

• " 93% of internet users said they considered much of internet content to be unsuitable for children."

• "61%, thought internet users could easily become addicted to the internet, and the same number thought users could easily be affected by online pornography.

• "43%, said the internet could lure users into making the wrong kind of friends."

• "42% said internet use easily presented risks to personal or private information."

Links and Sources
There are currently 8 Comments for Why do Chinese Internet users like government controls?.

Comments on Why do Chinese Internet users like government controls?

Interesting findings and useful information. thanks for sharing Adam:)

A full 96% of this Internet user feels the trust in reliability of CNNIC reports to be equal to that of local cadre reports from the 50s and 60s?

99% of Chinese users said the net is a great way to pursue Cultural Revolution-like witch hunts and shrill attacks against companies or individuals (mostly foreigners) that smear the "honor" and "culture" of China and harm the feelings of the Chinese people, or publicize sexual romps with Chinese girls.

I personally think the opening stats about the majority approving of internet control and management are misleading. I'd be interested to see how they found the people they polled, were they the same people referred to as "influential and highly informed group of elite Chinese bloggers"? or were more of them from the general populace that is not usually aware of How internet is being controlled and managed?


I don't think so,is prejudice

This report made me think. Chinese people are great but there isn't a developed sense of plurality of opinion even among the highly educated.

Here's my take on the report: For a managed society to work effectively it takes a consensus (willing or otherwise) that management of society voluntarily embraces management. Otherwise the managed society becomes unmanageable.

The internet in China (as is plurality of opinion), is managed. Should the Chinese people reject the management of the internet it would be the equivalent of rejecting the management.

There is no way to prove my point and so it becomes an interesting philosophical question but more telling would be the question should the traditional media be managing messages too.

Could that question be asked too?

It's totally nonsence, do people really believe those so-called survey?

China Media Timeline
Major media events over the last three decades
Danwei Model Workers
The latest recommended blogs and new media
From 2008
Front Page of the Day
A different newspaper every weekday
From the Vault
Classic Danwei posts
+ Culture and corporate propaganda in Soho Xiaobao (2007.11): Mid-2007 issues of Soho Xiaobao (SOHO小报), illustrating the complicated identity of in-house magazines run by real estate companies.
+ Internet executives complain about excessive Net censorship (2010.03): Internet executives complain about excessive Net censorship at an officially sanctioned meeting in Shenzhen.
+ Crowd-sourced cheating on the 2010 gaokao (2010.06): A student in Sichuan seeks help with the ancient Chinese section of this year's college entrance exam -- while the test is going on!
Danwei Archives