Departmental Papers (ASC)

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Journal Article

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Publication Source

New Media & Society





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China was linked to the internet in 1994. In 1997, there were only about 670,000 users. By June 2011, China had over 485 million internet users, accounting for nearly 40 percent of the population. The rapid diffusion of the internet has had profound influences on all aspects of Chinese life. Scholars both in China and outside have responded to these new developments by producing a large amount of research. Not surprisingly, due to the internet’s connections with broad fields of social life, scholarly research on the topic is interdisciplinary, or rather, multi-disciplinary. Anthropologists (Zhou 2006), political scientists (Zheng 2008; Zhang and Zheng 2009), communication scholars (Hu 2008; Qiu 2009), sociologists (Yang 2009) have all contributed book-length studies. Their topics range from internet use among intellectuals (Zhou 2006), migrant workers (Qiu 2009), the impact of the internet on state-society relations (Zheng 2008), internet governance and expression (Hu 2009), to online activism (Yang 2009). In addition, there are numerous journal articles and book chapters, as well as frequent international conferences.

Copyright/Permission Statement

The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal, New Media & Society, 14(1), © SAGE Publications, Inc. 2012 at the New Media & Society page: on SAGE Journals Online:


NOTE: At the time of publication, author Guobin Yang was affiliated with the Columbia University. Currently(April 24, 2013), he is a faculty member at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania.

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Date Posted: 03 May 2013

This document has been peer reviewed.