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HD China – An Introduction

December 14, 2010

Contemporary International Law Issues:

Emergence of the World Wide Web

A Glimpse into the Social Reality of The Peoples Republic of China


Accessing information is a critical dimension of the Internet.  In a more general sense, information is a necessary element of knowledge.  Advancements in medicine and science depend as much on access to information as do our primary stages of education.  Upon entering the New York Public Library, one can admire the classical architectural details, walk up the marble staircase and read an inscription on the wall:  “Access to knowledge is the superb, the supreme act of truly great civilizations.”

Still, beyond the incredible achievements of this very pursuit, all this begets the question: Is access to information a fundamental value that human beings demand?

In an effort to provide a constructive jurisprudence for approaching inquiries that transcend cultural and geographic boundaries, the New Haven School embraced “a set of value categories borrowed from ethical philosophers and other normative specialists.” [i] Accordingly, it has identified the gathering, processing, and dissemination of information and knowledge as the human value of ‘enlightenment’.

The analysis of global flows of information is no novel subject.  One could probably argue that its origins are as old as the Ten Commandments, and yet the nature of the subject itself is continuous and ever evolving.  It is highly unlikely that the ancient prophets would have been able to envision the world we live in today—a world where invisible connections transcend traditional notions of time and space.  Today, innovation in communication technology continues to transform the global flows of information at a staggering pace.  Accordingly, there exist as many clever labels as academic scholars who have attempted to encapsulate and define the momentum of the times that we live in; the “digital age”, an “information society”, “new information society”, a “global village”, era of “globalization.”  As well as we who live in it: “global citizens”, “millenials”, “netizens”, and so on.

The passion to innovate is as relentless as its effect.  This paper strives to comprehend certain aspects of this effect—in particular, the emergence of the world-wide-web and its contemporary social consequences.  And in observing this relationship, what role, if any, does international law have?


[i] Lung-Chu Chen, An Introduction to Contemporary International Law (2d ed. 2000).



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