China and the Internet: Politics of the Digital Leap Forward is a comprehensive assessment of the political and economic impact of information and communication technologies (ITCs) on Chinese society. It provides in depth analyses of topics including economic development, civil and political liberties, bureaucratic politics, international relations and security studies. The book covers the aspirations of Chinese policy-makers using the Internet to achieve a 'digital leapfrog' of economic development. After looking at the achievements made so far putting China online, the author's consider prospects for realising this digital leapfrog from a number of perspectives, including the nature of the one-party state, the lack of visible legal structure, the digital divide within China, and the problem of bureaucratic turf wars and the technological time lag behind the advanced industrial economies. The chapters also explore normative issues such as the state's ability to maintain control over the flow of information and to stifle political dissent, the impact of the Internet on the formation of national and regional identity and the impact of ITCs on international security. The authors explore methodological and theoretical problems throughout, from the reliability of data to the nature of the relationship between technological and social change. Avoiding technical jargon, the book is accessible to anyone interested in the social impact of the Internet and information and communication technologies, from those in academia to business and public policy-makers.
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