Is Online Activism A Force For Social Change?

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Activism using the Internet and other new media is increasingly having an impact in broadening the scope of civic action in support of human rights in East Asia. Select one or two case studies of activism in ONE East Asian country studied in this course. With regard to your chosen case studies, how effective is online activism as a force for social change? How are government authorities responding to the challenge of internet activism?

Richard Ge

In Communist China, thought confining and regulation for access to banned book are existing. The authoritarian government controls all the knowledge, spiritual and cultural disseminating channel, for example, media, publishing, films, drama, etc. (Chen 2006 p.5)

Nonetheless, the popularization of the internet enables the Chinese to get in touch with the Western values. Thus, activism for human rights has appeared online. This essay will argue how online activism has influenced Chinese understandings of human rights; formed the attitude toward the authoritarian regime; and shaped the Chinese society. Two cases are selected namely 1) Shanxi black brick kiln slave scandal; 2) Lei Yang incident. At the same time, I will illustrate how the authority response to the two incidents which are positive and negative respectively. The positive is that the social welfare has been improved, while the negative is that the government tightened the cyber control.

Campaign for civil society in Pre-internet era
Before the appearance
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