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The Contentious Public SphereLaw, Media, and Authoritarian Rule in China$
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Ya-Wen Lei

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780691196145

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691196145.001.0001

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The Rise of a Nationwide Contentious Public Sphere

The Rise of a Nationwide Contentious Public Sphere

(p.14) 2 The Rise of a Nationwide Contentious Public Sphere
The Contentious Public Sphere

Ya-Wen Lei

Princeton University Press

This chapter establishes the starting point: the rise of a nationwide contentious public sphere in China, a development which can be traced to the mid-2000s. Here, the chapter aim to address challenges and questions regarding the rise of public opinion in the Internet age. It also seeks to gauge how public opinion has been affected by the Chinese state's sweeping attacks on the Internet and various actors, such as lawyers and journalists, since 2013. Tracing the historical patterns of public opinion in the People's Republic of China (PRC) is a formidable task given the compounded difficulty of finding direct measurement and longitudinal data. Examining reports regarding public opinion in the People's Daily as well as interview data related to that coverage provides one way to access and assess historical patterns of this otherwise elusive phenomenon.

Keywords:   Internet, public opinion, People's Daily, interviews, historical patterns, contentious public sphere

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