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"I am breaking the Great Firewall" :a study on circumvention tools exploitation by Chinese college students

English Abstract

This study is an examination of the exploitation of circumvention tools for bypassing “The Great Firewall” in China by Chinese college students. In the light of Donald Black`s behavior of law theory,150 representative Chinese college students who are circumvention tools users are recruited as respondents by volunteer sampling from universities selected by random sampling located in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou through social media. Synthesizing the quantitative study by questionnaire with all respondents and qualitative study through in-depth interviews with 14 out of them who are “excellent” circumvention tools users according to the “Pareto principle”. This study reveals the basic characteristics of Chinese college students when they employ circumvention tools and their attitudes towards circumvention tools,“The Great Firewall” and China`s Internet censorship . Based on “Uses and Gratification” theory, the data indicates the motivations of Chinese college students utilizing circumvention tools are:entertainment,curiosity, and resistance.In addition, we try to test whether circumvention tools usage is also one form of everyday resistance in virtual world for Chinese college students to resist the spiritual control of Chinese government and their desire for democracy in real world.

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Kang, Le


Faculty of Social Sciences




Firewalls (Computer security) -- China

Internet -- Government policy -- China

Freedom of speech -- China

Communication and New Media -- Department of Communication



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