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Winning hearts and minds? Cadres as microbloggers in China

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Esarey, Ashley

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Abstract "China's local governments are facing a crisis of public confidence and have struggled to handle political dissent and popular protests. In an attempt to promote political stability, local officials around the country have utilized Twitter-like microblog sites (weibo) to upgrade their capability to influence citizens and engage in rapid information management. Through the analysis of microblogging by prominent propagandists whose identities and professions are known to the public, this article finds some evidence that microblogging could be helping cadres to win hearts and minds, although such microblogging poses new risks to the state as netizens challenge propagandists and state policies in exchanges that reveal political pluralism and disapproval of state policies. While venting on weibo may enable people to blow off steam, the reluctance (or inability) of official microbloggers to engage their critics in meaningful dialogue suggests the limited utility of official microblogging as a means of furthering political stability through the improvement of state-society relations." (author's abstract)
Keywords China; political opinion; public opinion; opinion formation; exertion of government pressure; propaganda; political leadership; Internet; mass media; social media; political stability; Far East
Classification Political Process, Elections, Political Sociology, Political Culture; Interactive, electronic Media
Free Keywords microblogging; Weibo
Document language English
Publication Year 2015
Page/Pages p. 69-103
Journal Journal of Current Chinese Affairs, 44 (2015) 2
Issue topic Stability maintenance and Chinese media
ISSN 1868-1026
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Creative Commons - Attribution-NoDerivs