Nationalism and The Construction of Others in China : Exploring Social Media in the Shadow of the “Refugee Crisis”
Sammanfattning: This research examines discourses on the social media site Weibo around the group of international asylum seekers during an online campaign launched by United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to raise awareness of asylum seekers in the People’s Republic of China on June 2017. Sina Weibo is a Chinese social media site with its users making up of around 50% of total Chinese internet users (Weibo, 2017). Despite the background that Chinese government aims at taking more significant responsibility in global governance, in the same time as China demonstrates emerging interests in refugee issues, commentaries from grassroots Chinese on social media, however, held an altered stance. According to the author’s observation, during and after the UNHCR campaign of World Refugee Day on June 20, 2017, comments on topics of international refugee, refugee protection as well as certain religious and ethnic groups (Islam and Muslim, for example) on Weibo were mainly loaded with negative emotions, biased stereotypes, and resistant sentiments. The study is an interdisciplinary study contemplating theory in several disciplines, such as international migration and ethnic relations, international relations, public attitude dynamics, public communication, and new media. It is based on a critical discourse analysis approach, where the relationship between cyber discursive practices and the social, cultural, and power structure in the Chinese context is studied. Chinese public perception of the European “refugee crisis”, the public reaction toward several humanitarian pursuits which are deemed to be possessed by the West, grassroots identification of usand them, the global production and dissemination of particular xenophobic and Islamophobic sentiments will be studied. Last but not least, features of social media concerning their possible impacts on the aspects mentioned above are analyzed.
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