Table of Contents

Comment Icon0 From this survey, Chinese college students have demonstrated a relatively pragmatic attitude towards Internet use, with self-improvement as the key motivator. They also tend to focus on content related to their personal interests (e.g., hobbies and sports), as well as their line of work, than to be concerned about politics. This might explain why they do not seem as repressed on the Internet as what traditional Western media might have depicted, particularly under the Chinese government’s Internet content filters. However, recent events have shown that civil conflict tends to occur when the Chinese government suppresses online information that is related to their livelihood (e.g., ethnic/cultural concerns), as demonstrated by the government’s handling of the Sichuan earthquake of May 2008.

Variables Respondents Percentage
Learn on own + read mainstream 12 19.0%
Learn on own + share news 13 20.6%
Share thoughts + read mainstream 13 20.6%
Share thoughts + share news 25 39.7%

Comment Icon0 Table 11: Internet users’ locus of control

Comment Icon0 Comparing responses between individuals who would “respond to something untruthful posted online”, together with individuals who would “share news with families and friends”, we get the following results in Table 11, as shown above. Around 19% of Chinese Internet users indicated preference for not responding to online information, and they remained consistent by not sharing news with friends and relatives. This could be attributed to lack of time or interest in online engagement, where the user would simply be considered a lurker rather than a contributor. If they were given more elaborate questions, these particular respondents would likely exhibit a higher tendency towards external locus of control. From the survey, 20.6% of Internet users indicated their preference for not responding to perceived falsehood online, but were willing to share news that they felt was significant. Interestingly, a similar percentage of Internet users indicated that they would respond online, but were unwilling to share the news (20.6%). An explanation for this could be due to the relevance of the information they received. For instance, they might have personal interest in specific information online, which might not be of interest to their peers. It was noted that the number of users had a preference for responding to perceived falsehood online, as well as the willingness to share news with their friends and relatives, was almost double those of the other cases (39.7%).

Comment Icon0 Based on the college students’ demographics, the research indicated how Chinese youths typically had higher internal locus of control, as seen in their consistent tendency to express their opinions online and their willingness to share news. With reference to Figure 31 on how Chinese Internet users preferred to share their news, the Internet clearly serves as a convenient communication platform. More users share news via instant messaging than face-to-face communication. Furthermore, more respondents also indicated a preference to share news via their blogs rather than via email, perhaps as a means of building online reputation on their own turf. These media choices would show a preference for peer production of news content.

Chapter 9.2 – Conclusion


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