A Research of Censorship in China

About this sample

About this sample


Words: 937 |

Pages: 2|

5 min read

Published: Feb 8, 2022

Words: 937|Pages: 2|5 min read

Published: Feb 8, 2022

Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Significance of research
    Article Critique
  3. Conclusion


International speculation is ripe pertaining to the secrecy and high censorship of interweb expression in China. The seminal article by King et al. (2013) explores the researcher’s creation and testing of a central hypothesis exploring the purpose of China’s censorship program and how it impacts the country’s pollical pursuits. The researchers (King et al., 2013) believe that the Chinese Government censor all posts with collective action potential, particularly during periods of quick high-volume momentum on ‘trending’ topics. They further hypothesise that, in contrary to other research, that state critique theory is not a concern to the Chinese Government. King et al., (2013) collected meticulous data on social media to monitor human expression using automated engineering software. This allowed researchers to analyse and examine censoring patterns, which resulted positive in favour of their initial hypothesis.

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Additionally, King et al., (2013) conclude that Chinese leadership welcome free expression on social media, regardless of their positive or negative subject matter. Leadership see social media as a platform to gain populace views on government decisions (Xiao, 2011). With a mass of support from additional research, King et al., (2013) state that the government has recognised that an ill reputation does not threaten their hold on governmental power, as long as censors continue to eliminate conversation that has collective action potential. As King et al., effectively states, “Chinese people are individually free but collectively in chains”.

Significance of research

Due to the decentralisation of social media in China, as well as the size and efficiency of their censorship program, there is immense international curiosity. Researchers (King et al., 2013) have focused on a subject matter that desperately needed analysis and critique. Past academia on Chinese censorship is effective when focusing on political science but are generally based on personal accounts by government officials, public opinion surveys and government released statistics. King et al., (2013) correctly states that this denotes the validity of the research and deems it untrustworthy. By revealing patterns of censorship, the researchers effectively reveal government intent.

Article Critique

The piece by King et al., (2013) is effectively structured with subheadings, images and data graphs, allowing the reader to effectively follow its content. This is essential as it ensures logical comprehension of each section. Similarly, the researchers also follow a succinct, well structured and purposeful research method. Due to the sheer mass of social media content publicly available, a random sampling strategy would have produced invalid results (Esarey and Xiao, 2011). Hence why their stratified sampling strategy, organising posts into categories of political sensitivity is effective. By using an automated system, researchers were able to obtain social media posts before the Chinese manually censored them. Similar findings are discovered by Guo and Feng (2012) in their study of Chinese internet censorship. They reveal that despite the high level of competence shown by censors, a window of opportunity is present before the controversial posts are removed. King et al., (2013) sufficiently test the central hypothesis as the research method strives to highlight ‘highly bursty’ conversational patterns and the rate in which they are censored in comparison to topics of less popularity. This reveals whether or not censors are inclined to remove topics that have collective action potential or topics that support state critique theory. Unfortunately, certain ethical practices were not taken into consideration. The researchers quoted social media posts from individuals to reveal censorship patterns but failed to mention whether permission had been granted by the creators. Although discretion was essential for the research’s success, it could have left the individuals vulnerable to scrutiny.

During the data analysis process, limitations to effective progression are evident. The researchers have faced complications with the engineering process, including locating, accessing and downloading content before the authorities deem them as objectionable. Furthermore, the research fails to recognise individual self-censorship and the censorship that may occur before researchers can obtain the problematic post. Zainuddin (2016) explores the concept of self-censorship and the individual’s motivation to do so. This could have been referenced or expanded on by King et al., (2013). The researchers could have further evolved this concept by incorporating the theory of reasoned intent as noted by Guo and Feng (2012).

The results reveal a direct connection to the central hypothesis and note that collective action potential is the motivating factor for Chinese censorship, not critique of state leadership and policy. The researchers also reference Egorov et al., (2009) who support the results by noting that dictator’s welcome free media to improve diplomatic performance. This suggests that allowing criticism, as the results show, may legitimize the state and help the regime maintain power. In addition, Dimitrov (2008) notes the necessity of criticism, and argues that historically regimes collapse when the public fails to bring grievances to the state. It is an indicator that the state is no longer classified as legitimate.

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Overall, the researchers present viable theoretical models to test government motive for censorship laws in China. It sheds light on differing ways to analyse Chinese politics and authoritarian resilience, interpretations of China’s international relations and additionally, their intent to control freedom of expression. It is important to note that whilst the hypothesis is supported in a detailed and comprehensible way, flaws in their method of data collection reveal the necessity of further research. This would include ways of obtaining a larger percentage of data before it has been detected by Chinese authorities. Also, by expanding on the research and focusing on individual motivations for personal censorship, the study could be improved. Regardless, King et al., (2013) have conducted a well researched comprehensible study that allows readership to gain a more concise understanding of the Chinese government’s motivations for its strict censorship laws.

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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Oliver Johnson

Cite this Essay

A Research Of Censorship In China. (2022, February 10). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 25, 2024, from
“A Research Of Censorship In China.” GradesFixer, 10 Feb. 2022,
A Research Of Censorship In China. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 25 May 2024].
A Research Of Censorship In China [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2022 Feb 10 [cited 2024 May 25]. Available from:
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