Public Information Service for the Disadvantaged in China’s Towns: Case Study of Two Chinese Towns

Public Information Service for the Disadvantaged in China’s Towns: Case Study of Two Chinese Towns

Jianbin Zhang
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2791-8.ch012
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This study uses the methods of questionnaire and group discussion to conduct field research in A and B towns, which are located in the eastern developed region and the western undeveloped region of China, respectively. According to comparative study on the status of providing public information service for the disadvantaged between A and B towns, the author finds that the public in A town are superior to the ones in B in terms of information literacy, public information service expenditure, and satisfaction rate of public information service. Similarities exist in terms of differences in accessing public information service between town and village, among social groups, and the causes resulting in imbalance of public information service and features of the information-poor’s group distribution. The author discusses the differences in development policies between city and village, as well as differences in financial investment of public information service, education, and individual’s income level between A and B towns.
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Literature Review

The discussion of the foreign scholars on public information service for the disadvantaged mainly centers in the study on digital divide (Fuchs, 2009; Aerschot & Rodousakis, 2008; van Deursen & van Dijk, 2009). Christian Fuchs (2009) conducts comparative study by multivariate regression analysis on 126 countries, and contends that income inequality is an important factor to influence Internet usage, and is a main reason for digital divide. Aerschot and Rodousakis (2008) maintain that the digital divide affects low socio-economic status groups in particular; socio-economic factors-especially age and level of education play a role in determining whether a person is an Internet user or non-user. Van Deursen and van Dijk (2009) discuss the equity of public information service from the proposition of digital divide, and argue that digital is bridged by improving digital skills for the use of online public information and services. These study results have been involved the problem of public information service for the disadvantaged, but lacked of in-depth analysis in terms of communication between government and the public and the measures improved to public information service for the disadvantaged. According to Fuch’s study results, in this paper, the author divides the sample group into the high and low income group. According to the study results from Aerschot and Rodousakis, the author emphasizes efforts of education in two towns during the interview. Using the study results from van Deursen and van Dijk, the author designs the twenty-first and twenty-second questions in questionnaire to research the public’s information literacy.

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