The Chinese government has effectively adapted to the new environment in which information flow is greatly facilitated by the wide use of social media. This adaptation is aided not only by its resources and learning ability but also by citizens supportive of the regime. Content manipulation and censorship are the two primary approaches used by the Chinese government to manage social media. This paper examines how supportive citizens help the state manage cyberspace by tipping off state agencies. The state encourages tip providers by responding to tips, including political ones, and sometimes by rewarding the provider. Tip providers reduce the cost of monitoring social media, enhance the legitimacy of censorship, and discourage and marginalize regime critics. The presence of tip providers reflects and reinforces the split or ideological polarization among the population.
Skip Nav Destination
Research Article| March 15 2023
Cooperative Citizens: Tip Providers and Cyberspace Management in China
Yongshun Cai is Chair Professor of Social Science at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.
Search for other works by this author on:
Asian Survey (2023) 63 (3): 407–433.
Yongshun Cai; Cooperative Citizens: Tip Providers and Cyberspace Management in China. Asian Survey 1 June 2023; 63 (3): 407–433. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/as.2023.1814629
Download citation file:
Don't already have an account? Register
You could not be signed in. Please check your email address / username and password and try again.
Could not validate captcha. Please try again.