While the world is transfixed by the Tahrir Square struggle in Cairo and the role of new media, China quietly removed “Egypt” as a searchable term on its web. Egypt has brought to the fore the challenges China’s next generation of leaders, no less concerned about the way forward, confront. Please read the article in the Khaleej Times here:
A popular Chinese joke these days is about a pilot telling passengers that he has good news and bad news: “The good news is that we’re ahead of time; the bad news that we’re lost.” The challenges for the fast-growing economic power range from rebalancing the economy and bridging the gap between urban and rural China to coping with climate change and the ongoing global power shift. According to an increasing number of accounts, the biggest challenge may be the long-term effects of the growing complexity of the relationship between the party state and civil society with cyber media as a major driver.
The phenomenal growth of online civil society has, according to many observers, until now been more favourable to the Communist Party rather than to civil society. China has become a networked authoritarian state in which the party monitors, controls and deliberates public opinion with unlimited resources in terms of manpower, including human search engines, and technology, data mining society in depth.