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China Politics 2.0
China Politics 2.0
China Politics 2.0
China Politics 2.0
China Politics 2.0
China Politics 2.0
China Politics 2.0
China Politics 2.0
China Politics 2.0
China Politics 2.0
China Politics 2.0
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China Politics 2.0

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Is the Internet, and specifically social media and smartphones, changing China? A deck that serves as base for a talk I have given a few times

Is the Internet, and specifically social media and smartphones, changing China? A deck that serves as base for a talk I have given a few times

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  • 1. Chinese Politics 2.0 November 15, 2012 Bill Bishop Bill@Sinocism.com The Sinocism China NewsletterThursday, March 7, 13
  • 2. Big Market, Still Growing, Going Mobile • 538 million Internet users at June 30, 388 million access at least occasionally via mobile phones 538 Million Netizens, 39.9% Penetration of China’s Population 388 Million Mobile Internet Users, 72.2% of Netizens use Mobile Internet, More Chinese users access the Web from mobile devices than a PC - 388 million vs. 380 million. Bill Bishop--The Sinocism China NewsletterThursday, March 7, 13
  • 3. Massive Smartphone Growth “Smart phone prices have dropped to about $100 for an acceptable Android phone, and about $200 for a full-featured Android phone. Smart phones are now spreading like wildfire. About a year ago, there were less than 50M users, basically affluent or tech savvy users who were willing to pay $500 for a phone and $30 a month for 3G. But now, students, young white collar, and even blue collar workers are swarming into the smart phone market!“--Kaifu Lee Bill Bishop--The Sinocism China NewsletterThursday, March 7, 13
  • 4. Short But Explosive History of Weibo In China • Weibo (Way-Bwah 微博) literally means microblog • Blogging popular in China for years, and Bulletin Board Services (BBS) far more popular than in West • First Weibos launched in 2008 as Twitter clones. TaoTao (Tencent), Jiwai, Fanfou among others, none got significant traction • Fanfou shut July 2009 after Urumqi riots, went back online late 2010 but game over for them • Sina Weibo launched August 2009, with approval from PRC regulators • 8m Chinese Weibo users in 2009, 400m+ now • Both Sina and Tencent claim 300m+ microblog users • Top accounts have 20m+ followers, not just movie stars and celebrities but also CEOs, investors, academics have millions of fans Bill Bishop--The Sinocism China NewsletterThursday, March 7, 13
  • 5. A Weibo With Media and Conversation Click Picture To Expand Click “Comment” Link To Expand List Click to expand inline media, videos play “inside” the tweet Comments expand to display list of comments to tweet, allows for more robust, engaged, threaded “conversations” Bill Bishop--The Sinocism China NewsletterThursday, March 7, 13
  • 6. Censorship But... • Dual-track approach to censorship, aka information management • Great Firewall (GFW) to filter content from overseas • Domestic systems to delete whatever government deems improper. Those systems involve both software and people. • Chinese internet companies are forced to sign government-mandated “self discipline” pledges, and large firms employ dozens or hundreds of censors who monitor content and remove anything of concern. • Failure to comply leads to warnings, fines, shutdowns or worse. The government provides guidance on restricted topics but has structured enough ambiguity into the system so that company censors frequently overcompensate in their compliance.. Government Has Embraced Social Media And What Is Allowed To Be Discussed More Interesting Than What Is Censored Bill Bishop--The Sinocism China NewsletterThursday, March 7, 13
  • 7. Forcing Some Accountability, Exacerbating Credibility Gap • Deng Yujiao killed a lascivious official, freed after online uproar • “My Dad is Li Gang” drunk driving incident • July 2011 Wenzhou train crash • Pollution data transparency after campaign by SOHO China chairman Pan Shiyi • “Watch Brother” Yang Dacai and the “Human Flesh Search Engines” 7 Bill Bishop--The Sinocism China NewsletterThursday, March 7, 13
  • 8. Environmental NIMBY Protests Get Wired All those raised hands are holding smartphones, not placards “The cabinet of China has ordered that all major industrial projects must pass a “social risk assessment” before they begin, a move aimed at curtailing the large and increasingly violent environmental protests of the last year, which forced the suspension or cancellation of chemical plants, coal-fired power plants and a giant copper smelter.”--New York Times November 13th Bill Bishop--The Sinocism China NewsletterThursday, March 7, 13
  • 9. Bo Xilai Case--Elite Political Conflict 2.0 • Wang Lijun’s stay the US Consulate was broadcast in near real time on Weibo • Screenshot of flight reservations for Vice Minister of State Security posted • Chongqing government official Weibo mocked for declaring Wang Lijun “accepting vacation- style treatment” due to stress and “long-term overwork.” • Alleged murder of Neil Heywood first broke on Weibo • Terms related to Bo Xilai/Wang Lijun/Neil Heywood sometimes blocked, sometimes not • Crazy coup rumors, several detained • Control of Weibo key asset in any political struggle Elite political conflict not new in China but first time the masses could watch live Bill Bishop--The Sinocism China NewsletterThursday, March 7, 13
  • 10. Will The Internet Force Change In China? • It already has • First time perhaps in history Chinese have had such a large and open public sphere • Criticism, calls for reform are allowed, up to a point • Corruption, incompetence, injustice, environmental degradation at any level can now almost instantly become a national issue • Social media usage, especially via smartphones, is rapidly expanding from urban to rural users, getting harder to cover things up • Center-local relations have always been problematic, and Beijing uses social media, and especially Weibo, to monitor and reign in local governments • Government departments at all levels have Weibo accounts, many are proactive and responsive • But so far no “big fish” have been brought down, no major reforms • Official credibility in shreds, income disparity, slowing economy contributing to expectations gap • Government needs to address credibility and expectations gaps • The horse is out of the barn, Beijing under huge pressure to further reforms • Internet unlikely to bring system change but will force more accountable, responsive authoritarianism Bill Bishop--The Sinocism China Newsletter 10Thursday, March 7, 13
  • 11. Thanks November 15, 2012 Bill Bishop Bill@Sinocism.com The Sinocism China NewsletterThursday, March 7, 13

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