Gao Qing, Executive Director, Confucius Institute U.S. Center Chinese Privacy: P3M5 outside the Transatlantic Context

In an effort to discuss privacy beyond the transatlantic scope of the P3M5, the Goethe-Institut Washington partnered with the Confucius Institute at George Mason, which has commissioned plays and films by Chinese authors on the same question that the European and American playwrights have responded to: “What does privacy mean to you in the digital age?”

This collaboration explores the way that Chinese culture understands and interacts with privacy, a very important topic consdering that China has more internet users than any other country in the world.

When comparing Western and Chinese perspectives on privacy, it is important to note that the internet in China has advanced extremely quickly relative to the West, to the point that the line between online life and real life has blurred. For some Chinese, the value of privacy may be more related to individual identities: who they are and who they want to be. As such, online life can sometimes be seen as a substitute for in-person interaction, and people might choose to sacrifice their privacy on the internet in order to connect with others.

LIU Dianxia (c) 1994-2013 China Academic Journal Electronic Publishing House LIU Dianxia (c) 1994-2013 China Academic Journal Electronic Publishing House The first playwright, LIU Dianxia (刘典侠) from Jiangsu province, was born in China in 1982. He is a screenwriter, independent film and music critic, and gifted young playwright. All his works have been created and produced with the intention of addressing young audiences.  These works include film scripts like The Absent and Happy Heroes (欢乐英雄), documentaries like Life Artist (生活艺术家) and Veggie Market (蔬菜市场), and plays like Pathway of Sanity (素履之往) and Gate of Terror (恐惧之门).

He was chosen for the project because of his unique ability to articulate issues through dramatic form and, in the course of his plays, guide philosophical inquiry into their subject matter. His own thematic interests include globalization, the decline of human expression, and the decentralization of power, which have inspired his interest in privacy and P3M5.