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  • Li Shao

Recent literature claims that China censors information that has the potential to ignite collective action. This article extends this finding by arguing that Chinese censors respond differently to political challenges than they do to performance challenges. Political challenges call into questioning the Party's leading role, whereas performance challenges are directed at the failures of public goods provisions. A survey experiment of about 60 media professionals finds that censors are inclined to block political challenges and to tolerate criticism of the government's performance. However, when criticism contains both performance and political challenges, censorship is far more likely. By exploring the range of censorship activities, the results suggest that the Chinese regime's reliance on popular support constrains its censorship decisions.

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Journal of East Asian Studies
  • ISSN: 1598-2408
  • EISSN: 2234-6643
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Supplementary Materials

Shao supplementary material
Appendices 1-3

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