Hu Yong Interview: The Digital Age, Orwell’s “Newspeak” and Chinese Media

Danwei interviews (胡泳), Internet pioneer and associate professor at Peking University’s School of Journalism and Communication:

Danwei: In terms of the development of Chinese culture, do you think that the Internet is a good tool? Do you think that the Internet will contribute to the erosion of traditional Chinese culture?

HY: Aside from the technology, what does the Internet mean for China? The Internet is a new technology, and a new productive force, but we should also see its deeper and more profound meanings. The thing pushing for the Internet’s fast and vigorous development is its basic structure. Traditional computer systems are hierarchical; this kind of pyramidal structure gives dictatorial power to the system operator. In comparison, the Internet is open to the public and democratic: it does not have an owner or controller. This kind of decentralization is diffusing in society: traditional centralization of power will become stale and uninteresting.

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