Speaker: Professor Kecheng FANG, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
The influence of the Communist Party mouthpieces had been diminishing since China’s press commercialization in the 1980s. During recent years, however, we see the resurgence of party media on social media platforms. Following a mixed-methods approach, this study aims to explain the resurgence of the propaganda machine and discuss its implications. By collecting and analyzing quantitative data on article metrics and content characteristics, I summarize the key features of party media’s viral content. By conducting in-depth interviews with social media editors, I reveal their content strategies and the contributing factors behind the adoption of the strategies. I argue that the party media has been going through a process of “politically safe tabloidization”, which partly results in the recent rising of cyber-nationalism.