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Hacktivism: A Theoretical and Empirical Exploration of China’s Cyber Warriors

Studies reasons behind rise of freelance hacktivism coming from China using criminological theories and political and sociological approaches. Proposes a novel theoretical framework behind Chinese hacktivism through an empirical analysis of membership growth patterns within Chinese hacktivist forums online. Defines hacktivism as “a phenomenon in which hacking converges with political activism” which has grown in popularity since the loose knit group “Anonymous” launched a series of high profile attacks codenamed “Operation Payback” against top companies that had cut off Wikileaks services. Studies two related ideas, Nietzche’s concept of ressentiment and the social identity theory of relative deprivation, to explain patterns of Chinese hacktivism. Also points to nationalism and patriotism as reasons for rise in hacktivism. Studies famous hacktivist groups: Green Army, China Eagle Union, and H.U.C. Concludes hacktivism in China has increased due to social and historical influences that have accelerated since the Tiananmen Square Massacre in 1989 and frames hacktivism as a safe outlet through which hacktivists vent patriotic anger, which is not encouraged but tolerated by the state.
Michael Yip, Craig Webber
Electronics & Computer Science EPrints Service – University of Southampton
Industry Focus: 
Information & Telecommunication
Internet & Cyberspace
Bibliographies & Reports