Political Science

Censored: Distraction and Diversion Inside China's Great Firewall

A groundbreaking and surprising look at contemporary censorship in China


Feb 18, 2020
5.5 x 8.5 in.
23 b/w illus. 2 tables.
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As authoritarian governments around the world develop sophisticated technologies for controlling information, many observers have predicted that these controls would be easily evaded by savvy internet users. In Censored, Margaret Roberts demonstrates that even censorship that is easy to circumvent can still be enormously effective. Taking advantage of digital data harvested from the Chinese internet and leaks from China’s Propaganda Department, Roberts sheds light on how censorship influences the Chinese public. Drawing parallels between censorship in China and the way information is manipulated in the United States and other democracies, she reveals how internet users are susceptible to control even in the most open societies. Censored gives an unprecedented view of how governments encroach on the media consumption of citizens.

Awards and Recognition

  • Co-winner of the 2019 Goldsmith Book Prize for Academic Books, Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School
  • One of Foreign Affairs' Picks for Best of Books 2018