|Abstract: ||Among the major issues intensively debated in the international relations arena during the last decade, two have emerged as worthy of further exploration: global governance and the resurgence of China. While the two issues may seem irrelevant to each other, they are closely intertwined in the sense that the former is built upon the existing international order whereas the latter challenges, and will most likely reshape, that order: Whereas the realists believe that the rise of China will shake up existing international institutions by provoking confrontation between the old and the new powers, liberals contend that there is room for smooth policy coordination, as new actors gain strength in the interdependent world and major powers are brought closer to each other. The issue of Internet governance, in which a variety of new actors are involved, provides a vivid case in which to observe whether the liberal argument has real validity.|
Based upon the liberal framework, this paper explores how Chinese computer scientists have acquired autonomy and a sense of international connectedness and to what extent they are able to influence official policy choices. In tracing the history of the Internet in China, this paper finds that a group of computer scientists with distinctive beliefs exist in China and that they contributed greatly to the introduction of the Internet. In turn, the relationship between the views of this convergence and divergence of views, this paper argues that there is a division of labor between policymakers and the computer scientists with the former dominating policy decisions and the latter responsible for technical operations. This distinction is well institutionalized so that the two parts do not generally interfere with each other. However, when issues of high political significance are being debated, this distinction becomes more rigid and harder to cross, which in turn seriously reduces the policy impact of the computer scientists.