Edited By Stephen Coleman, Anna Przybylska and Yves Sintomer
Fan Yang - Chapter Two. Informal Deliberation over a Highly Publicized Case in Weibo Space of China: Process, Influences and Quality
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Chapter Two. Informal Deliberation over a Highly Publicized Case in Weibo Space of China: Process, Influences and Quality
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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