Online corruption-reporting, internet censorship, and the limits of responsive authoritarianism

Date

2017-08-22

Authors

Hoskins, Jack

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Abstract

This thesis traces the development of the Chinese government’s attempts to solicit corruption reports from citizens via online platforms such as websites and smartphone applications. It argues that this endeavour has proven largely unsuccessful, and what success it has enjoyed is not sustainable. The reason for this failure is that prospective complainants are offered little incentive to report corruption via official channels. Complaints on social media require less effort and are more likely to lead to investigations than complaints delivered straight to the government, though neither channel is particularly effective. The regime’s concern for social stability has led to widespread censorship of corruption discussion on social media, as well as a slew of laws and regulations banning the behaviour. Though it is difficult to predict what the long-term results of these policies will be, it seems likely that the regime’s ability to collect corruption data will remain limited.

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Keywords

corruption, China, internet privacy, internet law, data crowdsourcing

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