Most people are familiar with the periodic table from secondary school, though few have ever paid much attention to the elements in the top row of the separate box on the bottom left. These 15 lanthanides, plus scandium and yttrium, are known as the rare earth elements (REE). They are vital to a broad range of technologies, from mobile phones and LCD monitors to hybrid car batteries and missile guidance systems. Like the dragon's pearl that allowed the dragon to ascend to heaven in ancient Chinese mythology, REE are crucial for China's economic rise.
Censorship of the internet in China has received worldwide attention. Hillary Clinton likened it to a new “information curtain”. Freedom House ranks China as the fourth least-free country in its report “Freedom on the Net 2011”. Reporters Without Borders called China an “Internet Enemy”. However, another phenomenon in Chinese cyberspace has attracted the attention of academics: online Chinese nationalism, and they are particularly interested in what role, if any, it plays in the political decision-making process in China.