Angel or demon: An examination of the development and impact of the online "human flesh search" in China
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In recent years, an Internet phenomenon in China called Human Flesh Search (HFS) has caught the attention of academic researchers and the media in China as well as other countries. Generally considered as a type of cyber manhunt, HFS is interesting yet controversial. It grows from individual affair to significant social phenomenon in ten years, and covers various issues, from personal to national. Its development in Mainland China shows unique, different features from those in other countries, and its popularity in China is closely related to the overall social situation. On one hand, it contributes to tackling corruption among government officials and increasing the public's awareness of social reality and justice. On the other hand, it violates individuals' right to privacy, and causes cyber violence against parties involved in HFS episodes. With proper regulation, HFS can help to deal with personal and social problems by making use of the massive human power of participants but without infringing individuals' rights and safety.