Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law


Clara Liang

First Page



In the mid-1990s, when the Internet began to burgeon in China, many thought that the rule of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) would finally come to an end. The combination of foreign capital and trans-border information exchange promised a potential influx of democratic ideas and ideals. The CCP responded with both physical and regulatory limits on the use of the Internet by the Chinese people. Some commentators characterized these limits as feeble attempts by the CCP to control a nebulous medium. Others viewed the limits as ineffective steps by the government to become a highly developed authoritarian state.

This Note posits that the CCP seeks to do neither. Instead, the CCP's goal is simple: to reap moderate economic benefits while retaining political power. By regulating how Chinese businesses and individuals use the Internet, the CCP retains political power despite the globalizing effect of the Internet. It does this by dominating the Internet economy and monitoring information exchanges to suppress political insurgency, while deriving economic gain from Internet development. Viewed in this light, economic and informational regulations are very much a success for the CCP.

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