DEFENDING CANTONESE
WEIBO AND GEO-IDENTITY
POLITICS IN GUANGZHOU,
CHINA
Impact of War on Modern Chinese Society
Conference...
PRESENTATION OUTLINE
1.

Collective action in digital age

- The changing (movement) network structure
- Weibo: interfaces...
DIGITAL COLLECTIVE ACTION
•

Personalised network

•

Horizontal and flat network

•

Private and semi-private network and...
A DIFFERENT TWITTER …
WEIBO
•

Weibo (micro blogs), entry up to 140 Chinese
characters;

•

Launched in 2009, by Sina.com;...
DATATIFICATION
Information now become:
•

More actively approaching users

•

Visualised

•

Encourage users’ participatio...
PRO-CANTONESE PROTEST IN
2010
•

Guangzhou (Canton) is a major southern city in China

•

Home of Cantonese (language); cl...
HOW IT UNFOLDED ON
WEIBO…
•

A group of activists used Weibo to organised
the protest, recruit members and publish news
an...
QUESTIONS
How are information communicated and
transmitted with the presence of staterepression (censorship), and the abse...
METHODS
•

Collected 1,648 Weibo entries through keyword
search ‘support Cantonese’ (撑粤语)between 23
– 27 July 2010.

•

Lo...
CATEGORIES
Label/Code

Counts

Information
Protest Information

149

Personal plan on protest day

55

Future actions (sec...
FRAMING ANALYSIS
Guiding questions:
•

Solidarity frame:

1. How Guangzhouers frame their culture and language?
2. How do ...
FINDINGS
•

Typing Cantonese;

•

Visualise local culture and language;

•

Citing mainstream media as moral supports;

•
...
A LINGUISTIC WAR
Type in Cantonese instead of Mandarin
For example:
蚊 = mosquito (Mandarin)
= Dollar (Cantonese)
You first...
VISUALISE IDENTITY
GEO-IDENTITY TO MOVEMENT
IDENTITY
袁崇焕 (YUAN CHONGHUAN)
VISUALISE DISSENTS
MAINSTREAM MEDIA
AN IMAGE WAR
Internet contention is radical communicative
action conducted in words and images … the
most obvious feature ...
GZ-HK CULTURAL IDENTITY
•

Woai Feisinai (18:48, 25/07/2013): ‘pro-Cantonese is
a common course for Guangzhouers and Hong
...
ALTERNATIVE POLITICAL
SPHERE
SCREEN CAPTURE
•

A practice to evade online censorship

•

Information

•

.jpg File can get around the ‘sensitive word
d...
EYE WITNESSING
ONLINE PROTEST
•

Many complains their posts are removed

•

Accuse the service being disgraceful and weibo took away thei...
AFTER-MATCH
•

The proposal was not even submitted for
consideration

•

Proliferation of local, Cantonese communities
on ...
CONCLUDING…
•

The nature of collective action is changing in
the digital age … in terms of the
communicative structures;
...
THANK YOU!

QUESTIONS?
Defending Cantonese Weibo and Geo-identity Politics in Guangzhou China
Defending Cantonese Weibo and Geo-identity Politics in Guangzhou China
Defending Cantonese Weibo and Geo-identity Politics in Guangzhou China
Defending Cantonese Weibo and Geo-identity Politics in Guangzhou China
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This presentation was presented on 'The Impact of War on Modern Chinese Society' , at The University of Queensland, 18-19 October 2013

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Defending Cantonese Weibo and Geo-identity Politics in Guangzhou China

  1. 1. DEFENDING CANTONESE WEIBO AND GEO-IDENTITY POLITICS IN GUANGZHOU, CHINA Impact of War on Modern Chinese Society Conference, UQ 2013 Wilfred Yang Wang (QUT) Wilfred.wang@student.qut.edu.au
  2. 2. PRESENTATION OUTLINE 1. Collective action in digital age - The changing (movement) network structure - Weibo: interfaces and relevant functions 2. Data collection and analysis 3. Findings and discussions - Perform Cantonese - An image war - Translocal network structure - Direct confrontation
  3. 3. DIGITAL COLLECTIVE ACTION • Personalised network • Horizontal and flat network • Private and semi-private network and communication • Spatially and geographically flexible • Portability, Mobility - technical convergence between platforms and services (Facebook and Twitter apps)
  4. 4. A DIFFERENT TWITTER … WEIBO • Weibo (micro blogs), entry up to 140 Chinese characters; • Launched in 2009, by Sina.com; • 5-6 different versions of weibo, a very competitive market. • Reached 331 million users by June 2013 • Nearly 50% used it through smart-phone
  5. 5. DATATIFICATION Information now become: • More actively approaching users • Visualised • Encourage users’ participation (reports, LIKE, promote, and comments) • Instantaneousness (news feed and chat) • Emotional (visual and audio materials) and personal (cover picture and profile photo) • Networking (connectivity), not dissemination (order)
  6. 6. PRO-CANTONESE PROTEST IN 2010 • Guangzhou (Canton) is a major southern city in China • Home of Cantonese (language); close to HK and Macau • A proposal to abolish Cantonese broadcasting at local TV station’s news and current affairs programs in July 2010; change to Mandarin • Public uproar and anger • A street protest on 25 July, with more than thousands participants; another protest on 1 August at HK.
  7. 7. HOW IT UNFOLDED ON WEIBO… • A group of activists used Weibo to organised the protest, recruit members and publish news and updates for the protest; • Guangzhou authorities disapproved the protest application • Organisers were dismantled; called off the protest through weibo • News media were prohibited to report • Online censorship (date, location, slogan)
  8. 8. QUESTIONS How are information communicated and transmitted with the presence of staterepression (censorship), and the absence of protest leader-follower structure?
  9. 9. METHODS • Collected 1,648 Weibo entries through keyword search ‘support Cantonese’ (撑粤语)between 23 – 27 July 2010. • Location: Guangzhou • Further filter by excluding all reposts, data down to 393, for framing analysis • Approached with framing analysis
  10. 10. CATEGORIES Label/Code Counts Information Protest Information 149 Personal plan on protest day 55 Future actions (second protest in HK) 7 Information about censorship 16 Rationale Cultural and historical uniqueness of Cantonese 38 Linguistic and identity right 22 Seeking external supports 19 Alternative actions 21 Slogan 66 N=393
  11. 11. FRAMING ANALYSIS Guiding questions: • Solidarity frame: 1. How Guangzhouers frame their culture and language? 2. How do they perceive outsiders? • 1. 2. 3. Participation frame (what makes people walk on the street or protest online?): The sense of severity and urgency (the gravity of the crisis and the needs to take action); The assurance to minimize personal risks of participation; The legitimacy to take action.
  12. 12. FINDINGS • Typing Cantonese; • Visualise local culture and language; • Citing mainstream media as moral supports; • Citing Hong Kong supports to create a crossborder cultural identity (against CCP’s effort of national identity); • Screenshots and live updates (texts); • Directly confronting the censorship.
  13. 13. A LINGUISTIC WAR Type in Cantonese instead of Mandarin For example: 蚊 = mosquito (Mandarin) = Dollar (Cantonese) You first go (Mandarin) 你先走 You go first (Cantonese) 你行先 政府 (government) = zf,天朝(the heaven Dynasty)/正虎 (square tiger) 公安部 (police department) = gong an bu / gung on bou
  14. 14. VISUALISE IDENTITY
  15. 15. GEO-IDENTITY TO MOVEMENT IDENTITY
  16. 16. 袁崇焕 (YUAN CHONGHUAN)
  17. 17. VISUALISE DISSENTS
  18. 18. MAINSTREAM MEDIA
  19. 19. AN IMAGE WAR Internet contention is radical communicative action conducted in words and images … the most obvious feature of internet contention is its symbolic and discursive form (Guobin Yang, 2008) Mobilisation and framing: Geo-solidarity Needs to participate Citing external supports
  20. 20. GZ-HK CULTURAL IDENTITY • Woai Feisinai (18:48, 25/07/2013): ‘pro-Cantonese is a common course for Guangzhouers and Hong Kongers!’.
  21. 21. ALTERNATIVE POLITICAL SPHERE
  22. 22. SCREEN CAPTURE • A practice to evade online censorship • Information • .jpg File can get around the ‘sensitive word detection’ (敏感词) system visualised (not textualised)
  23. 23. EYE WITNESSING
  24. 24. ONLINE PROTEST • Many complains their posts are removed • Accuse the service being disgraceful and weibo took away their legal rights: ‘let’s see how many posts can they (SNSs and the government) delete!?’ ‘look, the government starts removing posts (relating to proCantonese movement), do they really think that will shattered our determination to support Cantonese?’ ‘zf has censored the term ‘Jiangnanxi’ (protest location) on search engineers!’
  25. 25. AFTER-MATCH • The proposal was not even submitted for consideration • Proliferation of local, Cantonese communities on Weibo
  26. 26. CONCLUDING… • The nature of collective action is changing in the digital age … in terms of the communicative structures; • Collective action becomes part of the everyday practice rather than an exceptional historical moment; • Self-participation and engagement not systematic coordination • ‘Who we are’ not ‘what we want’
  27. 27. THANK YOU! QUESTIONS?

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