Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name



Communication Studies


Jim Wittebols


Communication and the arts, Social sciences, China




The explosive development of the Internet in China has catalyzed the emergence of the information society. It is a commonly held view that the Internet provides an online public sphere which provides citizens real opportunities for the democratization of public life. This common sense creates a "myth" of cyberdemocracy. My thesis tests whether this "myth" can be justified with respect to China's information society. First, the nature of the "myth" is analyzed. I examine how the Chinese people understand and interpret the "myth". Second, I focus on whether the "myth" of cyberdemocracy can be justified, especially in the context of China's information society. Based on the analysis of China's information society background, I also explore how the "myth" works to eliminate social contradictions and to obscure the power relations underlying the discourse. I hypothesize that the contradiction between the market-oriented economy and political control impairs the Internet's democratic potential, and power relations in China's information society have not been changed.