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Chinese History

1) Rebecca MacKinnon has described in her paper how Chinese authoritarianism has changed according

to the technological advancements, and in particular, with the advent of the Internet age. She has

contended that such change has occurred not solely due to internet filtering deployment, but it has also

happened due to efficient usage of 2nd and 3rd generation control. Moreover, it has served as a model

for other governments, which are seeking to maintain legitimacy and power in age of internet. Social

networking platforms could act as a powerful tool in activists’ hands who seek for bringing

down authoritarian government. However, it would not be a wise thinking to consider these

platforms as only viable strategy for repressive regimes’ democratization. China proposes a

strong case and reflects how such authoritarian regimes could adapt to social media and

networked technologies and internet to strengthen the legitimacy. Development of networked

authoritarianism sheds light upon complicated issues related to corporate responsibility and

associated policies that need to be resolved to make sure that mobile and internet technological

devices could accomplish their potential to assist empowerment and liberation. She has

emphasized that difficult corporate responsibility and government policy need to be resolved

on priority basis to make sure that mobile and internet technologies could support

empowerment and liberation. Although, she has proposed that network authoritarian society
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residents are having more fun, more freedom of speech and less fearful. Simultaneously, strict

monitoring from government has been started to manipulate and censor online conversations

to the extent that nobody can organize an opposition movement. She has proposed evidence in

support of her argument by stating that charges on basis of religion, politics and ethnicity has

doubled than 2008. I agree with the viewpoint presented by Rebecca, as according to my point

of view, though, an average person gains freedom by raising its voice at online platforms unlike

classic authoritarianism. However, it induces individuals less likely to participate in

movements for radical political change. Similarly, networked authoritarian state doesn’t certify

the freedom and individual rights as people may be sentenced when they are viewed as a threat

by authorities.

2) It has been contended by the Ian Johnson that the central problem of China is an archaic

political system that is left over from initial communist time period. He has debated that even

though, outside world may regard China, as an ideal, speedily growing developing state, much

better than many parts of the world. Chinese political development could be regarded as remote

issue. Its remarkable transition from dictatorship to authoritarian market economy is

substantial. Yet, these all facts couldn’t hide the unstable political system of the state. There is

a growing anxiety among Chinese educated people, causing various anti-government and anti-

corruption protests. Moreover, Johnson has proposed that division between society and state

is not very definite and clear, and state controlled civil society in 1990 was form of civil society

itself. He has criticized those who have rejected civil society notion and has commented that

course of time has proved the value of this idea. Contending upon the same issue, Tony Saich

has proposed a different viewpoint by stating that, being state dominated nation, it would be
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more sensible to regard state as source of change rather than civil society. Moreover, Saich

debated that it was simplistic to oppose government against civil society. On other hand,

Johnson has mentioned in his article that:

“The balance of power . . . is shifting gradually in favor of the societal component” and drew

upon a powerful image that is valid in describing today’s China”

There is a clear contrast between Ian Johnson and Tony Saich upon concept of civil society.

Tony has suggested that duly registered NGOs can function in efficacious, fairly, albeit and

partially independent manner within limitations of regulations. Moreover, author has

contended at East Asia forum:

“Two clear trends are visible. Citizens ‘disaggregate’ the state and, while they express high levels

of satisfaction with the central government, satisfaction declines with each lower level of

government. While in 2009, 95.9 % were either relatively or extremely satisfied with the central

government, this dropped to 65% at the local level.137”

Moreover, market and locally governed and mobilized capital expansion is rationale for

development of market driven society-state dynamics. As role of Chinese state has been really

important in market expansion, in return, the market expansion has assisted in preparation of

ground for state rationalization (Yang, pp. 19-45).

3) Is the rising anger emerging from the societal inequality is inducing Chinese state towards a

social volcano of instability and protest that could defy rule of Chinese communist party? A

number of sources, without any evidence have answered this question with a clear yes. An

active social volcano in context of Chinese society has been explored by Martin Whyte in
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2004, where, author proposed that growing anger of Chinese people towards societal

inequalities is becoming “active social volcano” for Chinese society. Besides that, another

survey was conducted in 2009 and it was revealed that Chinese people’s popular anger towards

growing income inequality is not a major menace to communist party’s rule and state stability.

In this context, it could be called as dormant social volcano. Survey results have proposed an

evidence that Chinese people’s popular anger regarding other societal inequalities and

widespread injustices has shown an upsurge and could impose a real threat to Chinese leaders

by hard pressing them to explore effective methods to react to active social volcano.

Example of active volcano in Chinese society is anger of people towards power abuse,

official corruption and failure of bureaucrats to protect public interest. Until and unless,

government could provide protection to public, this active volcano would continue to fume

with possibility to threaten and erupt the party rule. Similarly, a Dormant social volcano in

context of Chinese society could be the anger of people towards inequality in wealth and

income, as they are not primarily steered due to such inequality. Active social volcano could

be regarded as inequality in various societal dimensions, as it is primarily triggering the

aggression (Martin, pp.9-37).

4) I agree with the above statement that high-consuming Chinese urban society development has

been primarily result of contemporary reformist state’s social engineering project and

associated agencies. The State’s way of developing urban society could ultimately lead towards

a more democratic society. However, expecting such radical change in short run would not be

wise. Tomba has proposed in his article that even though renowned entrepreneurs might have
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collected capital, salaried Chinese professionals have well positioned to get maximum benefit

from central state efforts. Tomba has contended that development of highly professional and

consumer oriented middle class has been one of the prime objectives of Chinese economic

reforms during recent years. Economic conditions, public policies, and resources allocation

have made significant contribution towards rapidly growing economic mobility. After a long

period of underachievement, job seekers are again seeking for the public employment and it is

on the top of their wish list. As the state has felt the need to lift the consumer spending and to

arouse the economic growth, the pursuit for political and social stability and aspiration to

nurture a more dynamic and efficient bureaucracy have influenced the government to increase

the salaries and enhance the circumstances for government officials and cultivate

professionalism and systematic organization in respective recruitment process. As Chinese

government has employed a middle class strategy, it has made sure the redistribution of

community assets, specifically of housing, founded upon interest structure, which prevailed

through the course of planned socialism, in such a manner that has favored urban society

sectors to a great extent. Moreover, it has built multiple ties to public employment and state.

Societal legacy of conventional welfare distribution and housing patrimony has placed this

along with competencies that held on to government into a situation of profiting from

comparatively cheap acquirement of valued resources and earning high incomes from it.

References
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MacKinnon, Rebecca. "Networked authoritarianism in China and beyond: Implications for

global internet freedom." Liberation Technology in Authoritarian Regimes, Stanford

University (2010).

Marolt, Peter. "Guobin Yang: The Power of the Internet in China: Citizen Activism

Online." International Journal of Communication 4 (2010): 4.

Saich, Tony. "Chinese Governance Seen Through The People’S Eyes". East Asia Forum.

N.p., 2011. Web. 12 June 2016.

Tomba, Luigi. "Creating an urban middle class: Social engineering in Beijing."The China

Journal 51 (2004): 1-26.

Whyte, Martin King. "China’s Dormant and Active Social Volcanoes." The China

Journal 75.1 (2016): 9-37.

Yang, Dali L. "Rationalizing the Chinese state: the political economy of government

reform." Remaking the Chinese state: strategies, society, and security (2001): 19-45.