Social Foundations of the Internet in China and the New Internet World: A Cross-National Comparative Perspective

China and the New Internet World, International Communication Association (ICA) Preconference, Oxford Internet Institute, June 2013

22 Pages Posted: 8 Jun 2013 Last revised: 2 Dec 2015

See all articles by Gillian Bolsover

Gillian Bolsover

University of Leeds - School of Politics and International Studies

William H. Dutton

University of Southern California; GCSCC Computer Science University of Oxford

Ginette Law

University of Oxford - Oxford Internet Institute

Soumitra Dutta

Independent

Date Written: June 8, 2013

Abstract

This paper provides evidence from survey research on the evolving attitudes, values, and patterns of use defining the New Internet World (NIW). The analysis focuses on China and other ‘emerging nations’ with similarly strong patterns of Internet diffusion, in comparison with the US and other nations that led the early development of the Internet. These findings lend support to previous research showing that new Internet users across the globe often share fundamental values and beliefs with users in more established Internet nations. For example, they are generally supportive of freedom of expression and online privacy, and concerned about governmental surveillance. However, users in newly adopting nations are often more innovative in content creation and social media uses, than users in nations that were the early leaders of Internet adoption. While Internet users in China are in line with other nations in their levels of political discussion and with respect to their views on government censorship and online monitoring, they are among the world’s leaders in online entertainment, leisure, and commerce. Given the support of Chinese users for the traditional values and attitudes underpinning the global Internet, the rise of China within the NIW may not lead to the kinds of changes in freedom of expression and privacy that might be expected on the basis of the rhetoric surrounding national policy.

Keywords: Internet, global, China, freedom of expression, users, values, attitudes

Suggested Citation

Bolsover, Gillian and Dutton, William H. and Law, Ginette and Dutta, Soumitra, Social Foundations of the Internet in China and the New Internet World: A Cross-National Comparative Perspective (June 8, 2013). China and the New Internet World, International Communication Association (ICA) Preconference, Oxford Internet Institute, June 2013, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2276482 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2276482

Gillian Bolsover

University of Leeds - School of Politics and International Studies ( email )

United Kingdom

William H. Dutton (Contact Author)

University of Southern California ( email )

3502 Watt Way #304
Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States

GCSCC Computer Science University of Oxford ( email )

Department of Computer Science
Robert Hooke Bldg 010
Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 3PR
United Kingdom

Ginette Law

University of Oxford - Oxford Internet Institute ( email )

1 St. Giles
University of Oxford
Oxford OX1 3PG Oxfordshire, Oxfordshire OX1 3JS
United Kingdom

Soumitra Dutta

Independent

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