Calibrating the Chinese Citizen: Propaganda, E-Petitioning and Big Data-Driven Governance

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Date(s) - 30/03/2017
1:00 pm - 2:30 pm

5th Floor, Menzies Building, Room N502


In China, the majority of city-level governments have set up websites where
citizen petitions and government responses can be reviewed by the general
public. What is the political logic guiding the establishment of such open
petitioning websites?

Analyzing policy documents, government websites and open petitions, this
paper argues that open petitioning websites represent a form of calibration of a
government-operated system that seeks to guide the political activity of China’s
citizens and at the same time monitors public service providers. In China’s
emerging big data-driven governance regime, such information will be used to
calibrate a system whose purpose is to both shape and predict human

Christian Göbel is professor of Chinese Politics and Society at the
Institute of East Asian Studies, University of Vienna. His research is
concerned with the adaptability of the Chinese Party-State to social,
economic and political challenges. He is especially interested in
effects of digital technology on local governance in China. His
current project examines the interrelationship between petitions,
protests and public policy.

For more information, please contact:
Olivia Khoo ( or Gloria Davies

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