Date of Award

Summer 8-2001

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Political Science & Geography


Graduate Program in International studies

Committee Director

Jie Chen

Committee Member

Regina Karp

Committee Member

Simon Serfaty

Committee Member

Carl Boyd

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.I45 L44 2001


Problem: Rapid dissemination of Internet technology and the free access to information it affords poses a threat to non-democratic states that rely on control of information to maintain power and stability. This is of substantial concern to the Communist regime in The People's Republic of China due to the fact that its repressed population constitutes the fastest growing body of Internet users in the world.

Methods: This paper examines the potential impact of the Internet on Chinese foreign and domestic policy through interpretation of existing literature as it applies to the Internet, interviews with experts studying the emergence of China's Internet, and case studies of Chinese foreign and domestic disputes widely debated on the Internet.

Results: Case studies of The Rape of Nanking and NATO's bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade prove that, when challenged by a foreign power, the Internet serves as a rallying point for Chinese people to express support for government policies and practices. Contrastly, the case of the Tibetan freedom movement on-line illustrates use of the Internet by foreign interest groups to publicize and gain international support for their position while exerting political pressure on the Chinese government from abroad. Finally, the case of Falun Gong indicates that small groups within China can use the Internet to organize and coordinate in the face of government opposition, posing a serious threat to the authority of the Communist regime.


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