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Communication, Development and Social Participation in China, Vol. 27 - 2020, No. 2

Guest Edited by Yuezhi Zhao and Jing Wu

Lessons from Weibo: Media Convergence and Contemporary Chinese Politics

, pages: 126-139

This paper focuses on the historical relationship between new media development and Chinese politics that led to the formation of the Chinese state’s strategy on media convergence in 2014. Specifically, it analyses a series of influential public controversies in China’s microblog or Weibo sphere in the formative years of Weibo’s development (2011–2012) to reveal the profound class biases, partisan excesses, as well as symbolic violence of Weibo as a platform for public deliberation on Chinese politics. The degeneration of Weibo politics and its anti-democratic nature foreshadowed the state’s intention to steer the direction of media convergence to ensure that the process will not be hijacked by elite interests so as to sustain some resemblance to the CCP’s traditional mass line mode of political communication. However, how to realize the state’s vision remains a formidable task.

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