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When Netizens Meet Party Leaders: Escalating Control of Internet and Social Media in China Since 1987

The talk will show political and social cases on how the Chinese leaders and netizens use the internet to meet their different purposes. 

May 24, 2018 12:00pm to 1:30pm

Free and open to the public.  Please RSVP here.

About the talk:

China’s control of the internet and social media has drawn global attention. A total of 170 internet regulations promulgated between 1991 and 2018 focus on these aspects of control:

(1) How does the Chinese government control the internet and social media?

(2) Who and what are being controlled?

(3) Why is there a need to control the use, content, and access to the internet and social media?

The talk will show political and social cases on how the Chinese leaders and netizens use the internet to meet their different purposes. In today’s explosive digital media age, the Chinese leaders know the power of the internet in reaching the people, e.g., General Secretary Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao held online chats with the people in June 2008 and February 2009, respectively. On the other hand, they are very concerned the use of internet and social media will become out of control, specifically in terms of freedom of expression. For example, the Jasmine Revolution in China (known as the Chinese Pro-Democracy Movement) in February 2011 has raised a red flag. The netizens want to access more information and express themselves more freely. So, what will happen in this balancing act between the leaders and the netizens? What is China’s internet control model? This will be explored and discussed in this talk.

About the speaker:

Dr. Tuen-yu Lau is the Kiriyama Professor of Asia Pacific Studies in the Center for Asia Pacific Studies at the University of San Francisco. He was founding director of the Master of Communication in Digital Media Program at the University of Washington. He has previously taught at Purdue University, UCLA, University of Hong Kong, Fudan University and Beijing Central University of Finance and Economic. He was a visiting scholar at the Hoover Institution and the Center for East Asian Studies at Stanford as well as at the University of Southern California's U.S.-China Institute.

Professor Lau served as a principal advisor for then brand-new TV network Indosiar Visual Mandiri in Indonesia. He worked with 50 foreign advisors to train 1,000 factory workers to become TV professionals. He also functioned as an advisor to an Internet radio company in Silicon Valley to help turn it from a revenue-loss to cash flow positive.

Professor Lau holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and communication from The Chinese University of Hong Kong, a master's in communication from Stanford University, and a Ph.D. in mass media (integrating the study of journalism, telecommunication, and advertising) from Michigan State University.