A confucian look at internet censorship in China

Yubo Kou, Bryan Semaan, Bonnie Nardi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Entry/PoemConference contribution

18 Scopus citations


China’s Internet censorship practices are sophisticated and pervasive. Academic research and media reports have examined the Chinese government’s varied, expansive methods of censorship and Chinese citizens’ techniques of subverting them, but little attention has been paid to understanding how Chinese citizens think about censorship in their everyday lives. We conducted a qualitative study of Chinese mainland citizens who circumvented censorship. We found seemingly contradictory attitudes and practices among our participants. They showed proficiency at bypassing censorship, but were sometimes comfortable with censored information. They were willing to share sensitive information with others, but saw the benefits of limiting the public’s access to information under certain circumstances. We examine how the complex, nuanced attitudes toward censorship resonate with the classic teachings of Confucianism, China’s traditional philosophical and ethical system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHuman-Computer Interaction - INTERACT 2017 - 16th IFIP TC 13 International Conference, Proceedings
EditorsJacki O'Neill, Girish Dalvi, Anirudha Joshi, Devanuj K. Balkrishan, Marco Winckler, Regina Bernhaupt
PublisherSpringer Verlag
Number of pages22
ISBN (Print)9783319677439
StatePublished - 2017
Event16th IFIP TC13 International Conference on Human–Computer Interaction, INTERACT 2017 - Mumbai, India
Duration: Sep 25 2017Sep 29 2017

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume10513 LNCS
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Other16th IFIP TC13 International Conference on Human–Computer Interaction, INTERACT 2017


  • Censorship
  • China
  • Confucianism
  • Social media

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • General Computer Science


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