The impact of government regulation to the Chinese social networking systems (SNS) users in China

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Ai, Lijiao
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Master of International Communication
Unitec Institute of Technology
Papoutsaki, Evangelia
Cass, Philip
Dodson, Giles
Masters Thesis
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
social media technologies
Great Firewall of China
internet freedom
internet regulation
ex-pat Chinese in China opinions
opinions of Chinese formerly resident in New Zealand
Ai, L. (2013). The impact of government regulation to the Chinese social networking systems (SNS) users in China. (Unpublished document submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of International Communication). Unitec Institute of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand. Retrieved from
The purpose of this research project is to gain a deeper understanding of the level of knowledge internet users have about the regulation of the Social Networking System (SNS) in China and identify how much and in what ways regulation affects the way SNS systems are used. This project is based on qualitative methods. Its findings may be utilised to give an indication of what internet users think about the regulated SNS in China. The research employs two data collection methods : focus groups and interviews. Focus groups enable the researcher to assess overall trends and identify other issues the researcher had not already considered. Interviews enable the searcher to conduct a more in-depth exploration of the research topic and allow participants who might feel uneasy in the focus group to express sensitive opinions. The thesis finds that perceptions of internet users surrounding internet regulation can be separated the two groups: some internet users oppose internet regulation on SNS, and some support internet regulation on SNS. In the first group, the internet users hoped the internet in China could be visited without any censorship. They were aware that the Chinese government wants to create the world’s largest intranet in order to control public information. Also, they complained that the standards of censorship in China were not clear. In addition, the participants admired the free internet in Western countries. However, some internet users were prepared to tolerate government regulations. These users were more likely to self-regulate online. These internet users felt they were helpless and had no choice except observing government regulations. In another group, the internet users supported the internet regulation in China. They could understand why the government had to control online speech, in order to avoid “terrorists” using the internet to incite people to rise up against the government. However, some users in this group complied with Chinese internet regulations in appearance but opposed them in their minds.
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