Chinese Cyber-Nationalism and Online Identity among Chinese Youth

China Media Research, a peer-reviewed online journal which is a cooperative venture between Zhejiang University and Michigan State University, carries two excellent and worthwhile articles in its latest issue.

Li Mingsheng, a communications scholar at Massey University, lays out an excellent and densely-document account of the netizen response to the Tibet debacle (both the March riots and the Olympic Torch protests) of spring 2008, entitled “Chinese Nationalism in an Unequal Cyber War.”  (Opens as pdf.)

Li’s abstract reads as follows:

This article examines the theory and characteristics of surging Chinese cyber-nationalism which is fuelled by antagonism toward Western media’s coverage of the Tibet riots. It is also fuelled by the media’s coverage of widespread, anti-China protests staged by pro-Tibet activists and China-bashers during the Olympic torch relay in 2008. It is pointed out that cyber-nationalism had an enormous influence upon the Chinese government and its foreign policy decisions. A huge gulf developed between Chinese netizens and the Western media in their understanding of human rights and Tibet issues. Chinese netizens, who seemed to have lost their confidence in the mainstream Western media which is represented by the CNN and BBC, began to align with the Chinese government in an asymmetric media battle. They used cyber space to express their views, voice their concerns, disseminate information, and mobilize and rally the support of millions of Chinese nationals. This was to fight against the Western media’s bias, prejudice, and misrepresentation, to protect and safeguard their national sovereignty, pride and territorial integrity, and to shore up China’s position over the Tibet issue. [China Media Research. 2009;5(4):63-79]

For more reflections on attitudes toward Japan and its role in forging identity among globalizing netizens, 2/3 of whom are between the ages of 10 and 29, an article by Chen Yanru of Xiamen University adds more weighty data.

For an old (2005) but still durable debate about anti-Japanese internet activities and “Taiwan otaku,” see this rather fascinating Sino-Japanese cultural blog in an essay entitled “反日網民遇上強勢小泉.”

From the same Chinese/Taiwanese blog, a more recent essay (December 3, 2009) on “History Women,” a group of Japanese girls who are fascinated by military women throughout history and uphold a culture of powerful women in the contemporary gaming culture.  This has great appeal to Chinese women as well!

via 知日部层 - click image for link to story / 打照片,到网连

An excerpt from the accompanying essay:

武將萌的歷女

與 「草食系男子」一樣,「歴女」(レキジョ)是最近才在日本流行起來的詞彙,兩者分別打入剛公佈的2009年日本十大新語․流行語。「歴女」泛指沉迷日中歷 史武將的女子。她們的年齡以二、三十歲居多,對日本戰國的武將最感興趣,其次是日本幕末志士及中國三國猛將。她們喜歡從事「聖地巡禮」及cross- dress cosplay戰國武將,並熱衷消費相關的ACG、電視劇、電影、小說及商品。與男性為主的「戰國史達人」不同,「歴女」對歷史考証興趣不大,喜歡的不是 傳統史書所強調的武士形像,而是當今流行文化所塑造的美少年形像。

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