Big Data from China and Its Implication for the Study of the Chinese State -- A Research Report on the 2014 Hongkong Protests on Weibo
41 Pages Posted: 20 May 2015
Date Written: May 26, 2015
With the rise of the Internet a new data source has become available both to researchers and to the Chinese state. While digital sources of information provide new opportunities for conducting research, states also attempt to control and shape the information sources available online. Especially politically closed states like China are channeling resources into censoring digital technologies. This paper aims to explore how researchers can best explore digital data originating from Chinese social media as a new source of information. How should we acquire data, especially when aiming for comparative analysis across social media platforms? How does the process of conducting research using big data look like? The paper relies on insights from a co-organized a project on the 2014 Hong Kong protests as part of the winter school 2015 by the Digital Methods Initiative at the University of Amsterdam, and discusses the implications of making use of big data analysis on part of Chinese officials as well as China scholars.
Keywords: big data, China, social media, Weibo, Twitter
JEL Classification: C80
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