Confucian Social Media: An Oxymoron?

Abstract

International observers and critics often attack China's Internet policy on the basis of liberal values. If China's Internet is designed and built on Confucian values that are distinct from, and sometimes incompatible to, liberal values, then the liberalist critique ought to be reconsidered. In this respect, Mary Bockover's “Confucian Values and the Internet: A Potential Conflict” appears to be the most direct attempt to address this issue. Yet, in light of developments since its publication in 2003, it is time to re-examine this issue. In this paper, I revisit Bockover’s argument and show why it fails. Using social media as an example, I offer an alternative argument to show why the Internet remains largely incompatible with Confucian values. I end this paper by suggesting how to recontextualise the Confucian way of life and to redesign social media in accordance to Confucian values in the information society

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