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(TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY)德州农工大学作业——中国互联网与自我控制

Internet and self-regulation in China中国互联网与自我控制
Corporate support for the self-regulatory framework of the Pledge offers evidence of China’s shift to a more bottom-up business model of media management,  in which the newer commercial focus on development is balanced with subtler control relationships between corporations and the state.承诺已经提供证据,中国将转向一个更底层的媒体管理商业模式,而企业支持这种自我规管架构。在这种自我规管架构中,商业发展的新重点与企业和国家之间的微妙控制关系相平衡。This corporatization of the media has significant global and domestic implications. 这种媒体的公司化有着明显的全球和国内影响。
From a global perspective, the shift sets in motion a number of aspects that potentially support the WTO agreement and thus further foreign investment. First,increased transparency or access to information through clearer rules of conduct in both domestic and foreign media projects creates an image of a fairer economic system. Second, the self-regulatory rules for conduct potentially limit the perception of risk for foreign investors, who can feel more confident in forming workable and profitable strategic relationships with domestic media corporations. Third, the success of foreign media companies, such as Disney and Viacom, enhances China’s global reputation for doing business,particularly in relation to those foreign media players who covet more profitable access to China’s developing media sector. However, a closer examination of the self-regulatory environment reveals also that this new commercial phenomenon within China’s media sector continues to be heavily, though subtly,controlled by the government. There clearly remains a deeper dialectical interrelationship between the media and the government, regardless of the flexibility offered by the self-regulatory framework. This dialectic involves social and political functions for the Chinese media, even though it has been repositioned by the state as a commercial entity within the socialist-market economic system.
In using the media to extol Chinese values and practices, the state-directed media assists in establishing a total system of social relations as a way of countering the negative aspects of globalization (i.e. Western cultural hegemony) while maximizing the economic returns that a commodified cultural industry offers China’s digital economy. 在利用媒体来歌颂中国人的价值观和做法方面,国家主导的媒体有助于建立一个社会关系的整体系统,来作为应对全球化的负面影响(即西方文化霸权)的一种方法,同时最大限度地提高商品化的文化产业提供给中国数字化经济的经济效益。To establish this notion of an ‘imagined Chinese world’ as a viable alternative to Westernization, the public discourse authorized by the state reflects Giddens’ (1999) notion of trust-building strategies (or faceworks) to support the state’s vision of a system of social relations between the government and media and the government and its citizenry based on the Pledge and administrative rationalizations respectively. On the surface, these strategies appear to be a radical shift in cultural politics away from the authoritarian position of the media and cultural production as a propaganda tool. However, as Weber and Lu (2004) argue, the faceworks strategy between corporations and the state obfuscates the strengthening of control modalities through subtler manifestations. For the government, the self-efficacy dimension of the Pledge is an acceptable trade-off for media that is more responsive to market forces. It is confident that greater profitability (as well as the threat of possible expulsion from the ‘family’ of Pledge participants)through limited self-determination provides a reasonable deterrent to media organizations from allowing the ‘posting or disseminating [of] pernicious information that may jeopardize state security and disrupt social stability’(Wired, 2002). Given this situation, the media can undertake commercial activities relatively unimpeded by the bureaucratic structures as long as they do not push the envelope politically.
From a user perspective, the administrative rationalizations outlined by Ding (2002) provide ‘ordinary citizens’ with a greater voice on non-political issues. On the surface, these ‘embedded mechanisms’ are designed to reestablish greater levels of trust between the government and citizens who have been disenfranchised or marginalized from China’s economic success.However, Weber and Lu’s (2006) analysis of online protests during the 2003 SARS health crisis indicates that China’s youth continue to be more cynical and less trusting of the government. Many of the comments on bulletin board services (BBS) targeted government bodies for their inability to address the basic needs of social groups in society. The government responded to these social justice issues by further tightening controls on student-run internet discussions,specifically those that were critical of the government during the SARS crisis. Within 18 months of the health crisis, the Chinese Communist
Party initiated a campaign to strengthen what it called ‘ideological education’.For example, university officials blocked off-campus users from participating in online bulletin board discussions. University administrators also required students to register with their real names when going online, thus eliminating the anonymity that allowed participants to speak without fear of punishment by authorities (Pan, 2005: A13). Such finessing of control modalities was specifically designed to achieve the government’s goal of guiding levels of civic engagement and participation through re-established vertical relationships of authority and dependence within a framework of legal, technical and social control measures.
What emerges from this dynamic is a better understanding of the cultural logic or hegemonic norm that supports the processes of controlled commodification employed by the government to reposition the media in China’s evolving socialist-market economic structure. 通过这个动力系统我们可以对文化逻辑或者霸权规范有一个是更好的了解,来支持政府通过对媒体在中国不断发展的社会主义市场经济体制中的重新定位所形成的控制商品化进程理念Today, China’s media (and cultural) management fuses together the old and familiar with the new and profitable to create a better quality and more politically acceptable product. This fusion reflects Raymond Williams’ notion of ‘residual’ and ‘emergent forms of cultural production’(Jameson, 2003). Both forms of cultural production are generated through commercialization strategies that encourage technology transfer and imported foreign content between global media companies, such as Disney and Viacom, and domestic media looking for a competitive advantage. Underpinning these arrangements is the older cultural production model (though cloaked in the contemporary rhetoric of self-regulation and cultural values and practices), which functions to support and maintain political structures and social cohesion – much like the propaganda model. In reality, establishing this system of social relations,based on the processes of controlled commodification, strengthens rather than weakens the state’s influence and control over commercialized Chinese media. It does so because the control modalities are subtler and subsumed under the grander and naturalized discourse of China’s ‘imagined community’, which supports the transition to a socialist-market economy through the promise of economic benefits for China’s citizenry. Accordingly, the self-regulatory model becomes an exemplar of the Chinese government’s cultural leadership because it supports WTO reforms and promotes the commercial use of the internet,increases opportunities for profitability and offers more freedom for users to comment on social and economic justice issues. However, there are few concessions with regard to critical discussion of the limitations of this total system of social relations between government, media and citizenry. Adorno identifies the significance of the relationships between those who hold the power to define the culture and the consumer of the culture:
In all its branches, products which are tailored for consumption by the masses, and which to a greater extent determine the nature of that consumption, are manufactured more or less according to plan. The individual branches are similar in structure or at least fit into each other, ordering themselves into a system almost without a gap. This is made possible by contemporary technical capabilities as well as by economic and administrative concentration. (2004: 98)
By engaging with the new media environment, the government utilizes all three components outlined by Adorno – technical capabilities, and economic and administrative concentration – to reinforce control modalities. 通过参与新媒体环境,政府利用阿多诺所有概括三个全部组成部分 :技术能力、经济、行政浓度来加强控制模式。Technology provides the government with the capabilities to monitor dissent, define access and censor information. Complementing this strategy is the self-regulatory framework, which is framed as profit-motivated but essentially acts to provide control modalities through a bottom-up approach to media management. Simultaneously, the administrative rationalizations direct users towards regulated channels, which are governed by the technical capabilities and the self-regulatory framework, which reaffirm the total system of social relations as defined by the state.
Yet, in spite of the success of this integration of multi-layered control factors,there exist significant risks for the government if the vision of a more open system of social relations is not experienced at the user level. 但是,尽管这种多层次控制因素的整合取得了成功,如果一个更开放社会关系系统的愿景没有经过用户层次的使用,政府仍存在很大的风险。For example,many young Chinese internet users felt that the administrative rationalizations failed to deliver a platform for their social justice issues to be heard during the SARS health crisis. Furthermore, the government’s response to the criticism – by organizing a campaign of ‘ideological education’ to draw internet protesters back under the umbrella of state control – only evoked further protests by young Chinese people (Pan, 2005: A13). Such a response reflects Jameson’s assessment of the dangers of creating a total system or logic for social development:
What happens is that the more powerful the vision of some increasingly total system or logic … the more powerless the reader comes to feel … by constructing an increasingly closed and terrifying machine, to that very degree he [sic] loses, since the critical capacity of his work is thereby paralysed, and the impulses of negation and revolt, not to speak of those of social transformation, are increasingly perceived as vain and trivial in the face of the model itself. (2003: 5–6)
When applied to the Chinese context, the developing system of social relations reflects a strange quasi-Sartrean irony – a winner loses logic – one that is growingly recognized by internet users. This logic suggests that if Chinese citizens trust the government they will gradually win further freedoms under the reform policies, such as a greater say in the direction of China through the rationalizations outlined by Ding (2002). In doing so, China’s citizenry must pledge their solidarity to the Chinese notion of ‘imagined community’, as defined by the state. However, in limiting the avenues for civic engagement it puts at risk the core objective of the administrative rationalizations, that of im http://ukthesiss.com/jsjwl/roving transparency in which citizens have access to information about what institutions do and allowing those who are affected by policies to have a greater say in their formulation.
Where the government’s strategy of a total system of social relations (based on trust-building and solidarity) is weakened is in its failure to adequately accommodate the equally important characteristic of reciprocity in the processes of civic engagement (see Madsen, 1998; Putnam, 1993).政府整体社会关系系统的战略(建立信任和团结的基础上)被削弱的地方在于,其未能充分配合互惠在公民参与的过程中同样重要的特征(见1998年马德森,普特南,1993)。While the concessions offered by the administrative rationalizations are essentially designed to evoke trust in the government and the state, the government does not reciprocate that trust because of the limitations placed on what users can use the internet for in China. One of the key reasons why young Chinese people continued to protest so vehemently is that they recognize the attempts by authorities to re-direct them to vertical relationships of authority and dependency on the government and away from horizontal relationships of reciprocity between government and citizens. By continuing to control citizens’ access to the internet and to information, the government is effectively eroding the levels of trust between the state and its citizenry through limiting, rather than enhancing, people’s say in policy formulation. Ironically, this undermines the very objective of the administrative rationalizations to provide transparency, or what Stiglitz (2003) defines as improved information flow, and thus access to government formulation of policies through regulated channels.

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