Our focus is on how Chinese citizens use the Internet.
Much has been written about Chinese Internet users, but surprisingly few reliable sources are available to draw representative conclusions about how many Chinese are online, which platforms they use, who uses the various platforms, for which purpose, and how Internet development is perceived. The China Internet Survey (CIS) 2018 provides the first nationally representative face-to-face survey on these questions based on the GPS sampling method, which includes a large percentage of migrants not obtained via alternative sampling methods based on lists of registered residents.
Reliable data on Chinese Internet users is rare.
The China Internet Survey 2018 is significant because research on Chinese Internet increasingly relies on non-representative data, such as Internet surveys and social media platforms. Compared to the past, representative public opinion surveys in China are less frequently conducted, not only in collaboration with foreign observers but also by Chinese researchers.
The China Internet Survey 2018 complements official Chinese data.
So far the main source on Chinese Internet users has come from the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) under supervision of China’s cyberspace administration agency (WangXinBan), the main regulator of Chinese Internet policy. Based on telephone surveys CNNIC conducts regular reports on Chinese Internet users. The CIS partially overlaps but mostly complements CNNIC data. CIS estimates for Chinese Internet use are even higher at 72 percent compared to CNNIC estimates at 59.6 percent as of December 2018.
We aim to improve knowledge about China.
We are academic researchers who aim to share reliable information and knowledge about ordinary Chinese citizens. We believe in social scientific research methods as a means to obtaining insights into the true state of the world. We are transparent about our research design, its weaknesses and how we aimed to overcome these weaknesses. We welcome criticism, feedback and suggestions regarding how to improve research.
We believe in promoting understanding of China.
Chinese and foreign observers differ vastly in terms of where and what kind of information they receive regarding China. Chinese often feel that outside observers do not understand internal developments; outside observers often perceive Chinese sources to be biased towards the Chinese government. As researchers we aim to bridge this gap by providing an independent source of information that is representative of ordinary Chinese citizens. We aim to inform academic, public and policy discourse about China.
We are politically independent.
We are grateful for funding by the European Research Council under the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP/2007-2013) / ERC Grant Agreement n. . The Hertie School and Leiden University are both beneficiaries of the grant. Leiden University is a leading public university in the Netherlands. The Hertie School is a private university based in Berlin, Germany, accredited by the state and the German Science Council. The school was founded at the end of 2003 as a project of the Hertie Foundation, which remains its major partner. Funding sources were not involved in the development of the research question, research design, data collection, or analysis of this research project.