BCCN Online Lecture Series #5: Governing Big Data: The Evolution of Policy Focus and Governance Structures in China
Xiang Gao (Zhejiang University)
This lecture series is hosted by the Berlin Contemporary China Network (BCCN), an initiative by researchers at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Freie Universität Berlin, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, and Technische Universität Berlin. It is organized by Freie Universität Berlin. Here you can find an overview of the lecture series.
In the digital era, data serves as the “new oil,” shaping economic dynamics, societal norms, and governance frameworks. China has notably evolved its approach to big data governance, punctuated by the launch of its Big Data Strategy in 2015 and the establishment of the State Data Bureau in 2023. Despite these developments, there is limited scholarly understanding of the rationales behind these changes and their potential ramifications. This study scrutinizes the evolving policy focus and governance structure in China’s big data landscape based on a comprehensive review of official documents. Additionally, the research delves into the potential challenges within the current governance architecture, particularly in terms of bureaucratic politics, including both formal structures and individual resistance. Our preliminary findings provide a nuanced understanding of the dynamism in China's big data governance strategy and offer insights into potential obstacles and challenges confronting future policy implementation and public administration.
Dr. Xiang Gao is a professor in the School of Public Affairs at Zhejiang University. She also serves as the director of the MPA program since January 2020. Her areas of specialization include comparative government, local governance, and digital government. Her research focuses on local governance in market transition and digitalization. She is the author of the book Delegation and Development: Local Government in China’s Market Transition (Zhejiang University Press, 2020). Her articles have appeared in such journals as Daedalus: the Journal of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Government Information Quarterly, China Information, China Review, and Journal of Chinese Governance.