Circumventing the Great Firewall: The Accommodation and Defiance of Internet Censorship among Chinese Students
31 Pages Posted: 3 May 2013 Last revised: 9 Jun 2013
Date Written: April 30, 2013
This article examines the attitudes, motivation and behaviors of Chinese college students towards China Internet censorship, and their utilization of circumvention tools to bypass the government Internet blockage, thereby making free connections with the outside world. The current study is a qualitative study based on in-depth interviews with 12 Chinese college students from different parts of China, who have some experience of using circumvention tools. Drawing upon the Uses and Gratification theory and everyday resistance, it is argued that circumvention tools usage, for Chinese college students, is a practical action to resist China’s sophisticated Internet censorship, by which they perform the “anti-agenda setting”. It is also revealed that circumvention is closely correlated with the students’ sense of civil society, human rights, democracy, and more political participation.
Keywords: Internet censorship, circumvention, uses and gratification theory, Chinese college students
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