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Volume 52 Issue 10
November 2020
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Citation: Qifu LIN and Hao YIN. Reconsidering Internet Political Participation: A Perspective of Representativeness[J]. Academic Monthly, 2020, 52(10): 77-88. shu

Reconsidering Internet Political Participation: A Perspective of Representativeness

  • With the development and popularity of information technology, the internet makes it extremely convenient for it’s users to learn political information, cultivate political views and process political participation online. Online public opinion fostered by netizens’ discussion, together with online netizen-government interaction, is playing a more important role in policy making. From the perspective of representativeness, how positive this role is played depends a lot on the extent of which netizens can represent the public. With data visualization analysis on two nation-wide survey, namely CGSS2015 and CFPS2018, this article investigates the representativeness of internet political participation on two dimensions: demographic characteristics and political attitude. The results indicate that, at present, internet users can’t represent the public well in China. Further, they show less consistency on crucial attitudes as well. The biased representativeness of netizens could possibly diminish the bright side of internet political participation for policy making. Based on empirical results and theoretical discussion, we argue that government should make policy concerning the whole situation, treat online opinion prudently instead of following it blindly.
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          Reconsidering Internet Political Participation: A Perspective of Representativeness

          Abstract: With the development and popularity of information technology, the internet makes it extremely convenient for it’s users to learn political information, cultivate political views and process political participation online. Online public opinion fostered by netizens’ discussion, together with online netizen-government interaction, is playing a more important role in policy making. From the perspective of representativeness, how positive this role is played depends a lot on the extent of which netizens can represent the public. With data visualization analysis on two nation-wide survey, namely CGSS2015 and CFPS2018, this article investigates the representativeness of internet political participation on two dimensions: demographic characteristics and political attitude. The results indicate that, at present, internet users can’t represent the public well in China. Further, they show less consistency on crucial attitudes as well. The biased representativeness of netizens could possibly diminish the bright side of internet political participation for policy making. Based on empirical results and theoretical discussion, we argue that government should make policy concerning the whole situation, treat online opinion prudently instead of following it blindly.

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