Internet, “Rivers and Lakes”: Locating Chinese Alternative Public Sphere


Internet is supposed to have natural and inherent relationship with democratization, and is also supposed to act as the main battlefield for the public to fight against the authoritarian. The Internet in China, however, does not serve as the “democratic public sphere” for people to fight against the ruling power directly and roundly; instead, it seems to be a Chinese style term of “Jianghu” 江湖—literally means “rivers and lakes”—an “alternative public sphere” for Chinese people. This article was from the perspective of cultural studies, based on the methodology of case study and textual analysis. It took two cases, namely, the Event of South China Tiger Photos and Event of Deng Yujiao 邓玉娇, to analyze the cultural practice of Internet events, particularly the expression channels, emotion mobilizations and communication mechanisms of netizens, indicating the emergence of China alternative public sphere and its implication to the state and society.

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Lin Zhongxuan (2014) Internet, “Rivers and Lakes”: Locating Chinese Alternative Public Sphere. Chinese Studies, 3, 144-156. doi: 10.4236/chnstd.2014.34021.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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