Roberts, Margaret E. Censored: Distraction and Diversion Inside China’s Great Firewall

(Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2018), 288p. $29.95 hardback
  • Carrie Liu CurrierEmail author
Book Review

The study of censorship in authoritarian states is not new, and it is increasingly complex in a digital age. Eliminating controversial information from public consumption and redirecting news was easier when the state could control all media outlets and primarily relied on print, radio or television for the dissemination of information. Now things have become more challenging as social media has become an organizational tool, and encrypted outlets for messaging have emerged. The state simply cannot keep up with the ways its citizens both access and disseminate information today, and it is impossible to gain complete control of online discourse. However, Roberts argues that the state is not interested in blocking sensitive information as much as redirecting the public’s attention from issues that could threaten the state’s legitimacy or authority. In fact, she claims the Chinese state is most interested in using censorship to diffuse collective action rather than suppressing dissent,...

Copyright information

© Journal of Chinese Political Science/Association of Chinese Political Studies 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Texas Christian UniversityFort WorthUSA

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