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Deliberation and Democracy: Innovative Processes and Institutions

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Edited By Stephen Coleman, Anna Przybylska and Yves Sintomer

As our experience regarding the practice of deliberation grows, the position from which we evaluate it, and the criteria of this evaluation, change. This book presents a synthesis of recent research that has brought detailed and robust results. Its first section concerns contemporary challenges and new approaches to the public sphere. The second focuses on the Deliberative Poll as a specific deliberative technique and compares findings emanating from this practice in various political and cultural contexts. The third section addresses the challenge of determining what constitutes deliberative quality. Finally, the last section discusses democratic deliberation and deliberative democracy as they relate to the complex challenges of contemporary politics.
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Fan Yang - Chapter Two. Informal Deliberation over a Highly Publicized Case in Weibo Space of China: Process, Influences and Quality

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Fan Yang

Chapter Two. Informal Deliberation over a Highly Publicized Case in Weibo Space of China: Process, Influences and Quality

Introduction

Informal online public deliberation serves as an important factor for China’s democratization. In this chapter, its functioning is explained in reference to Weibo (microblogs) and specific discussions that have taken place there. Through case studies, we focus on the role these informal public deliberations that take place on China’s Weibo play in political and legal processes and their overall impact.

In China, it is the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), rather than independent judicial courts, that decides on the outcome of the majority of high profile cases in the country. In light of this, internet communities, such as SNS sites and Weibo, become new platforms where hundreds of millions of people gather to form a new political public sphere. Although the central government has imposed cyberspace control, it is unlikely to be an all-pervasive force due to the particularities of new Web 2.0 technologies. Indeed, in recent years, the highly publicized court cases are almost always the most popular topics of discussion among the users of these online communities nationwide – contrary to the wishes of the central government.1 This is because when people sense injustice or foul-play in these highly publicized trials, they are more willing to express their views on the web, and in the process, engage in extensive and in-depth deliberations with others. Certain well-known lawyers, public...

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