The Journal of Asian Studies

Research Article

Blogging Alone: China, the Internet, and the Democratic Illusion?

James Leibold


Drawing on recent survey data, digital ethnography and comparative analysis, this article presents a critical re-appraisal of the interactive blogosphere in China and its effects on Chinese social and political life. Focused on the discursive and behaviorist trends of Chinese netizens rather than the ubiquitous information control/resistance paradigm, it argues that the Sinophone blogosphere is producing the same shallow infotainment, pernicious misinformation, and interest-based ghettos that it creates elsewhere in the world, and these more prosaic elements need to be considered alongside the Chinese internet's potential for creating new forms of civic activism and socio-political change.

James Leibold ( is Senior Lecturer and Asian Studies Program Convenor in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at La Trobe University in Australia.