The Party Mouthpieces Go Viral: How China’s Propaganda Machine Adapts to Social Media and Why It Matters
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.

Kecheng FANG (方可成) is an Assistant Professor at the School of Journalism and Communication, the Chinese University of Hong Kong. His research interests include digital media, journalism, and political communication. He received his Ph.D. degree from the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. Before joining academia, he worked as a political journalist at the Chinese newspaper Southern Weekly. His work has appeared in New Media & Society, Information, Communication & Society, China Quarterly, Journal of Contemporary China, among others.

Faculty host:Jean Hong (
Speaker(s) Prof Kecheng Fang
The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Date 12 Nov 2019 (Tuesday)
Time 12:00 - 1:30 pm
Venue Room 3401 (via lifts 17-18), Academic Building, HKUST
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
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