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Internet Use and Political Communication of Citizens in China

In 1978, Chinese government has carried out the economic reform. With the development of economy, China has encountered the booming of information and communication technology from the mid-1990s. Statistics from the China Internet Network Information Center survey have showed the rapid development of Internet in terms of Internet users and online penetration in China. Compared with traditional media that allows only a few individuals ‘to speak out’, the Internet enables multidirectional communication. The decentralized nature of the Internet has the potential to allow Internet users to express their opinions, especially about politics.


Therefore, this research concentrates on the effect of Internet on political communication and attempt to figure out whether Internet can contribute to more active and participatory political communication of Chinese citizens and foster a civic society in China. However, many existing studies have focused on the relationship between Internet use and political communication in Western or industrial countries. The relevant theories may not be applicable to other countries that possess of different national circumstances. Based on quantitative methods, this research aims to construct a theoretical model that can explain the concrete process of Internet’ s effect on individual political communication in Chinese context, which will fill the gap in related studies.