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Submit a Manuscript to the Journal
Information, Communication & Society

For a Special Issue on
The Geopolitics of Chinese Internets

Abstract deadline
10 August 2021

Manuscript deadline
25 October 2021

Cover image - Information, Communication & Society

Special Issue Editor(s)

Jack Linchuan Qiu, National University of Singapore
[email protected]

Peter K. Yu, Texas A&M University
[email protected]

Elisa Oreglia, King's College London
[email protected]

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The Geopolitics of Chinese Internets

The Geopolitics of Chinese Internets

Guest Editors:

Jack Linchuan Qiu, National University of Singapore

Peter K. Yu, Texas A&M University

Elisa Oreglia, King’s College London


Conceptions about The Internet, powerful and popular as they were, seem to have ebbed away. The Great Firewall of China has more than withstood the test of time. It has multiplied into countless fault lines within the People's Republic, around it, and far beyond. The cosmopolitan cyberspace has vanished due to Beijing's policies and practices, as well as forces working against them. As a result, we now confront the complexity and contradictions of many Chinese internets, in the plural.

This iCS special issue calls attention to the geopolitics of Chinese internets, dissected through social, cultural, economic, discursive, and/or historical approaches; using qualitative, quantitative, and/or computational methods. By geopolitics we understand not only the role of nation-states and classic international relations but also evolving dynamics among private-sector and civil-society players as well as cultural communities of all kinds. In the ruins of a single unified network, be it Barlow's cyber-libertarian paradise or Beijing's "One World One Dream" à la the 2008 Olympics, we need to first map out the lines of demarcation between the Chinese and the others, and among the many Chinese Internets, separated through sociopolitical, geo-linguistic, technocultural, as well as ideological differences, which reinforce old divisions while producing new ones.

Examining geostrategic fault lines that mark out the uneven landscape full of disjunctures and tectonic clashes, we ask: What are the utility and limits of key notions such as sovereignty and security?  How and why do we get here? What's the balance between centrifugal and centripetal forces, between top-down control and grassroots movements? How to prevent discourses of conflict from being turned into actual wars between the internets? Is it still important to pursue peace and unity? If so, how?

We welcome submissions addressing topics that include but are not limited to:

  • the political economy of Chinese data and IT industries
  • information infrastructure buildup in the Belt and Road Initiative
  • Chinese tech giants facing pressure abroad or at home
  • the role of state in the formation of Chinese digital capitalism
  • comparative analysis of Internet law, regulation, and governance in Chinese societies
  • market and non-market competition between Chinese and Western players in different world-regions
  • technocultural and narrative communities based on gender, class, ethnic, generational and other identities
  • digital borderlands surrounding China
  • informal digital economies within and outside the PRC
  • cyber attacks, cybercrime, and cyber risk
  • post-COVID information warfare and infodemics
  • spatial patterns of diaspora Chinese internets and geographies of connectivity
  • patterns of use and appropriation of Chinese Internet services in non-Chinese societies
  • colliding visions of Chinese internets, and their associated factions

Submission Instructions

Interested authors should submit an 800-word abstract by 9 August 2021. Please email your abstracts to Dr. Jack Qiu [email protected] while copying his assistant Ms. Wang Ziyi [email protected] Abstract screening decisions will be made by 23 August 2021. Selected abstracts shall be developed into full articles and submitted online through http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/rics under the special issue title "Geopolitics of Chinese internets" by 25 October 2021. All articles will then go through the journal’s standard peer review process. Please follow the Instructions for Authors as published in iCS website. Our plan is to publish this special issue by the end of 2022. For inquiries please contact Dr. Jack Qiu and Ms. Wang Ziyi using the emails above.

Instructions for AuthorsSubmit an Article