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China’s Digital Nationalism, the Hong Kong protests, and the Challenge of COVID-19

07 May 2020
By Dr Florian Schneider
Image from Shutterstock

As Chinese might has grown, nationalism has emerged as a powerful source of legitimacy for the state. What happens when nationalism goes digital? Florian Schneider explains in a recent webinar.

Nationalism, in China as much as elsewhere, is today adopted, filtered, transformed, enhanced, and accelerated through digital networks. And digital nationalism interacts in complicated ways with nationalism “on the ground”. If we are to understand the political complexities of the 21st century, we need to ask: what happens to nationalism when it goes digital? In this talk, Florian Schneider explores what search engines, online encyclopaedias, websites, hyperlink networks, and social media can tell us about the way that different actors construct and manage a crucial topic in contemporary Chinese politics: the sovereignty of the Chinese nation and its state. Relating his earlier findings about Japan representations in Chinese cyberspace to the recent Chinese reactions to the Hong Kong protests and developments in the wake of the Coronavirus outbreak, Schneider asks how popular nationalism is evolving today, and how it might connect to domestic and foreign policy in the PRC.

This is a recording of an AIIA online event that took place on Wednesday 6 May 2020. To sign up for further events, click here.

Dr Florian Schneider is senior university lecturer in the politics of modern China at Leiden University. He is managing editor of the academic journal Asiascape: Digital Asia, director of the Leiden Asia Centre, and author of Staging China: The Politics of Mass Spectacle (Leiden University Press 2019), China’s Digital Nationalism (Oxford University Press 2018), and Visual Political Communication in Popular Chinese Television Series (Brill 2013, recipient of the 2014 EastAsiaNet book prize). His research interests include questions of governance, political communication, and digital media in China, as well as international relations in the East-Asian region. He has a PhD from Sheffield University.