Exploring Online Structures on Chinese Government Portals: Citizen Political Participation and Government Legitimation

Jiang, M. & Xu, H. (2009). Exploring online structures on Chinese government portals: Citizen political participation and government legitimation. Social Science Computer Review, 27, 174-195.

22 Pages Posted: 2 Apr 2009 Last revised: 13 Jul 2014

See all articles by Min Jiang

Min Jiang

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Charlotte

Date Written: February 24, 2009

Abstract

This article explores the communicative structures of Chinese government web sites and their implications for citizen political participation. Taking issue with the party-state's dubious claim of building a transparent, service-oriented, and democratic administration, the study analyzed web features on 31 Chinese provincial government portals. The UN's e-participation framework was adapted to locate venues for citizen involvement. The results suggest that by manipulating online structures, Chinese government resorts to more subtle forms of online social control through information delivery, agenda setting, and containment of public dissent. Limited improvement in administrative efficiency and transparency serves the dual role of deflating social tension and reestablishing party legitimacy. Paradoxically, citizens' political participation may generate unintended consequences of incremental reform of China's local governance and political institutions.

Keywords: China, government, legitimacy, democracy, control, participation, Internet, technology, web site, UN

Suggested Citation

Jiang, Min, Exploring Online Structures on Chinese Government Portals: Citizen Political Participation and Government Legitimation (February 24, 2009). Jiang, M. & Xu, H. (2009). Exploring online structures on Chinese government portals: Citizen political participation and government legitimation. Social Science Computer Review, 27, 174-195., Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1371868

Min Jiang (Contact Author)

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Charlotte ( email )

9201 University City Boulevard
Charlotte, NC 28223
United States

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