“Adaptive Persuasion in Cyberspace

For this assignment there are going to be 3 Discussion Posts and 1 Question.

Choose 3 different articles from the Required Readings below. Each one should refer to a different author e.g., King, Yang, Jiang, etc. Summarize each one, and evaluate it, and then pose a question (using either convergent thinking or speculative thinking) about it for your classmates. Respond to at least one of your classmates’ posts by reading the article concerned and then answering her/his question. If you don’t agree with your any part of your classmate’s post, create a counterargument and offer evidence to support your opinion. Thus in DF7, you will post a minimum total of 4 posts.

Required Reading:

· Han, Rongbin. “Adaptive Persuasion in Cyberspace: The “Fifty-Cents Army” in China.” Paper submitted for Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association. Chicago, Il. August 29-September 1, 2013.


· Hvistendahl, Mara. “Study of Internet censorship reveals the deepest fears of China’s government.” August 21, 2014. Read this in conjunction with article by Gary King.

· http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2014/08/study-internet-censorship-reveals-deepest-fears-chinas-government?utm_content=buffera2d3e&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

· Jiang, M. “Authoritarian Deliberation on the Internet.” Electronic Journal of Communication, 20 (3 & 4). Posted: 27 July 2009. Last revised 13 July 2014.


· King, Gary, Jennifer Pan, Margaret E. Roberts. “Reverse-engineering censorship in China: Randomized experimentation and participant observation. Science, 22 August 2014.


· Naughton, John. “The secret army of cheerleaders policing China’s internet.” 29 May 2016. The Guardian. This article also supplements the Gary King article.


· Rosen, Stanley. “Is the Internet a Positive Force in the Development of Civil Society, a Public Sphere, and Democratization in China?”


· Shen, Simon. “Why is the Internet Not Fostering China’s Democratization?” March 15, 2016. Foreign Policy Association. This article discusses Guobin Yang’s book, The Power of the Internet in China: Citizen Activism Online.

· Thornton, Patricia M. Censorship and Surveillance in Chinese Cyberspace: Beyond the Great Firewall,” pp. 265-280 (15 pages) NOTE: the UC Library has order an E-book that contains the chapter by Thornton. I will notify you as soon as it is available at the UC Library website.

· Yang, Guobin. The Power of the Internet in China: Citizen Activism Online. “Conclusion: China’s Long Revolution.” NOTE: Yang’s book is available as an E-book on the UC Library website.

Discussion Post Sample:

The “Panopticon Effect” is a method used by the government of China to keep citizens in check at all times possible. In her book, MacKinnon describes the Panopticon Effect as a way to “give prisoners credible proof that they are under surveillance some of the time, though not all of the time. If they have no way of knowing exactly when they are being watched, they end up having to assume they are under surveillance all the time.” (MacKinnon, 2012, p80). Based on Bentham’s design, she also argues that ” When people are unaware of being monitored, at least some of the time, without clear information about exactly how and when the surveillance is taking place, against whom, and according to what specific criteria, people will choose to avoid trouble and modify their behavior in ways that are often subtle and even subconscious.”(MacKinnon, 2012, p80).

China’s practice of the Panopticon Effect is in use as a daily routine. Citizens are constantly being monitored by face and object recognition cameras and technologies that allow government officials to acquire data and compare the data acquired to the information on a database. Facial recognition is measured by “identifying all of the faces in a given image. For each face, the algorithm measures out key data points like the distance between the eyes or the color of the skin and then use those measurements to create a template that can be compared against other faces in a database.” (Wall Street Journal, 2017). Not only are the Chinese monitored by cameras, but also by the daily applications they use on their electronic devices (discussed in the last paragraph).

Everywhere in China there are checkpoints in which each citizen’s id card is revised. In the video “Life Inside China’s Total Surveillance State”, the journalist from the Wall Street Journal makes emphasis on how strict is life for the Chinese due to the constant surveillance implemented by the government. Some of the aspects touched on the video included the fact that if a citizen wants to buy a weapon, the weapon is then “tied to the buyer’s identification card” (Wall Street Journal, 2017). This enforces security and allows for faster profiling of criminals during or after the commission of crimes, however, for innocent people this seems very unnecessary. The implementation of surveillance goes above and beyond and allows the government to manipulate the citizens like puppets, and use them as a way to test new technologies.

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