2013 Student-Faculty Fellows Program: Baldwin-Wallace University
Internet Censorship, Chinese Christians’ Views on Environment and Economy, and China’s Urban Demolition and Relocation Management Policies
Mentor: Xudong Chen, Department of Economics
Students: Erin Amschlinger ’14, Sundous Eddeb ’13, Paul Krause ’15, Daniela Muhaj ‘14
During a twenty-two day period, we conducted research in the cities of Shanghai, Beijing, Fuzhou and Xiamen. Because of the sensitive nature of the topics being studied, for the most part, we focused our research around interviewing and conducting surveys with professors and students in the relatively free atmosphere of university campuses where Professor Chen has a range of connections. We secured a wealth of information while in China, and once back, we met weekly throughout the remainder of the summer with our mentor who helped translate the answers to the open-ended questions on our surveys and collaborated with us to help strengthen the focus of our individual research papers.
During my stay in China, I conducted a total of 457 surveys, each consisting of twenty questions relating in some way to internet censorship. The sample size included 97 students from Shanghai Institute of Foreign Trade, 99 students from Central University of Finance and Economics in Beijing, 121 students from Fujian Normal University, and 140 students from Xiamen University in Fujian. In each city, I also interviewed groups of 4-15 students after administering the surveys to provide them the opportunity to elaborate on certain topics. The topics most commonly delved into were their perceptions of the internet as a source of good information, the political and economic implications of censorship practices, and the potential for future internet censorship in China. Once back in America, I collected and organized survey results, worked up an “Excel” spreadsheet for further analysis, and computed frequency distributions and basic statistical analysis in preparation for writing a paper on what was discovered.
Sundous Eddeb & Daniela Muhaj
We worked together to examine how the “Urban Housing Demolition and Relocation Management Regulation,” implemented by the government in China, has impacted the Chinese populace and influenced economic trends in the housing market. To do this, we distributed a total of 446 surveys to mostly economics and finance majors on university campuses in Shanghai, Beijing, Fuzhou and Xiamen, and conducted an additional twenty-one in-depth interviews. We have completed translating all the surveys and compiled an “Excel” database. The next step is to convert the data into SPSS for a more adequate analysis. The interviews we held have been transcribed and will be analyzed to see if the response complements and supports our discoveries. Initial reactions to our project suggest that individuals either: 1) justify demolition and relocation policies believing that they help China progress, 2) disagree with the policy because it hurts those who are disrupted by it, or 3) accept the policy as something that is inevitable, given the Party’s agenda of development for China.
My research, now completed is titled “Protestantism and Environmental Justice in China: Explorations into the Roots of Environmentalism in the Protestant Church in China.” Much of the data secured for my paper came from interviews with leaders and lay members of Chinese church communities in four different Chinese cities, but discussion was sometimes hampered by their need to live a “careful” life and not upset government authorities. Nonetheless, one discovers that environmentalism has bound many Christian churches together in an ecumenical movement that stresses God’s role in the creation and the call for believers to be stewards of his creations. Chinese Protestants are becoming more engaged in social activism and building a more effective and energetic civil society, and as fallout from environmental degradation caused by too rapid economic development occurs, they are growing more concerned about environmental justice in China.