by Sophia Fu
While some scholars argue that the Internet is transforming China’s civil society landscape, a recent study by NNSI researchers challenges this claim. Sophia Fu and Michelle Shumate studied the websites of 410 Chinese nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and how Chinese NGOs hyperlinked with each other in 2014. Their findings suggest that Chinese NGOs tend to hyperlink to similar NGOs. For example, government-organized NGOs (GONGOs) preferred to link with GONGOs and legally registered NGOs tended to connect with registered NGOs online. As such, the gaps between government supported NGOs and grassroots NGOs are extended to the online sphere. There is little evidence that the Internet is transforming China’s civil society landscape.