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Global Challenges to Digital Media Policy and Regulation, Vol. 30 - 2023, No. 2

Guest Edited by Hannu Nieminen, Helena Sousa, and Claudia Padovani

The Return of Billiard Balls? US–China Tech War and China’s State-Directed Digital Capitalism

, pages: 197-217[open access]

Media policy analysts of (neo)liberal persuasion have long seen China as an anomaly. This is, however, a narrow perspective, whose explanatory power pales facing the challenge of recent events. Drawing upon International Relations (IR) theories, this article reflects on the contradicting ideas of (neo)liberalism and (neo)realism in digital media policy, while examining US–China tech war and China’s state-directed platform capitalism. It argues that more attention should be paid to neorealist frameworks, especially Mearsheimer’s offensive realism, which sees the world as consisting of billiard balls bumping into each other, pursuing hegemony. How is offensive realism useful in helping understand recent events about China? How is it also limited? Are we returning to an era of billiard balls? What are the implications for digital media policy to transcend platform capitalism and approach platform socialism?

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