Digital China: Media and Social Change


Digital China: Media and Social Change

Conference Programme

UK-China Media and Cultural Studies Association 3rd Biennial Conference

16th January 2019, School of Media, Communication and Sociology, University of Leicester (UK)

Keynote Speakers:

Cara Wallis, Associate Professor, Department of Communication, Texas A&M University. Dr. Wallis is an interdisciplinary scholar whose work spans the fields of mobile communication, critical studies of technology, media studies, China studies, and women’s and gender studies. She is the author of Technomobility in China: Young Migrant Women and Mobile Phones, Winner of the 2014 Bonnie Ritter Book Award and Winner of the 2013 James W. Carey Media Research Award.

Manya Koetse, China Social Trend Watcher. Manya Koetse is the founder & editor-in-chief of What’s on Weibo. She is an MPhil graduate in Asian Studies, specialized in Chinese Language & Culture and Japanese Language & Culture. 

The theme of this conference is “Digital China: Media and Social Change”. The conference will focus on the impact of digital media on the construction of China’s political, economic, cultural, and social fields. It explores the role of digital media in different aspects of Chinese society and Chinese everyday lives. It also seeks to understand media development in China and comprehensively demonstrate the revolution that has created the brand-new face of Chinese society over recent decades in the wake of new media.

China has experienced a dramatic information and communication revolution in the past few years. Although China’s case is not exceptional in the global trend of digitalisation, it does have its own characteristics. Hong (2016) argues that the speed, scope and scale of growth and development of both the Internet and social media make China receive more attention. An increasing body of scholarship has examined the implications of such digital revolution in relation to civic/political engagement (e.g. Liu, 2017; Wan, 2017; Zhang et al., 2018), social justice (e.g. Chang, 2018), social interaction (e.g. Xu et al., 2015; Chan, 2018), and business (e.g. Luo et al., 2015; Boardman et al., 2018). However, as changes and developments are still continuing in Chinese society as well as the digital media landscape; UCMeCSA aims to organise this academic biennial-conference to invite scholars whose research relates to the above aspects to further contribute to the debate and provide up-to-date knowledge about more recent phenomena. This conference focuses on the following specific areas:

  • Digital culture in China
  • Digital media activism and civic/political engagement in China
  • Digital media and social justice (class, gender, ethnicity, sexuality, religion, ability, etc.) in China
  • Digital media and the changing pattern of social interaction in China
  • Digital media and the development of consumerism in China
  • Methodological concerns in studying digital media and digital culture in the Chinese context


Boardman, R., Cano, M.B. and Deng, S. (2018) ‘Marketing to Chinese Millennials: Weibo as A Marketing Tool For Luxury Brands’, Global Marketing Conference. Tokyo, Japan, 26-29 July. Tokyo: Elsevier, pp. 441-442.

Chan, L.S. (2018) ‘Liberating or Disciplining? A Technofeminist Analysis of the use of Dating Apps Among Women in Urban China’, Communication Culture & Critique, 11(2), pp.298-314.

Chang, J., Ren, H. and Yang, Q. (2018). ‘A virtual gender asylum? The social media profile picture, young Chinese women’s self-empowerment, and the emergence of a Chinese digital feminism”, International Journal of Cultural Studies, 21(3), pp.325-340.

Hong, J. (2017) ‘Social media in China: An unprecedented force for an unprecedented social change?’, Telematics and Informatics, 3(34), pp.691-693.

Liu, B. (2017) Social Media Use and Political Participation in China: The Mediating Role of Political Efficacy. PhD thesis. University of South Florida. Available at (Accessed: 19 August 2018)

Luo, N., Zhang, M. and Liu, W. (2015) ‘The effects of value co-creation practices on building harmonious brand community and achieving brand loyalty on social media in China’, Computers in Human Behavior, 48(1), pp.492-499.

Wan, X.A. (2017) ‘A Study of Political Participation in New Media Environment Among Chinese Citizens’, in Xie, Y. (eds.) New Media and China’s Social Development. Singapore: Springer, pp.47-71.

Xu, J., Kang, Q., Song, Z. and Clarke, C.P. (2015) ‘Applications of mobile social media: WeChat among academic libraries in China’, The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 41(1), pp.21-30.

Zhang, S., Li, Y., Hao, Y. and Zhang, Y. (2018) ‘Does public opinion affect air quality? Evidence based on the monthly data of 109 prefecture-level cities in China’, Energy Policy, 116(1), pp.299-311.

Conference report by Yuxin Liu 2017年4月11日,英中媒体与文化研究学会 (UCMeCSA) 第二届年会在英国东英吉利亚大学(University of East Anglia)举行。这一天,来自世界各地的媒体研究学者们齐聚英国诺维奇(Norwich), 展开了一场别开生面的学术研讨会议。本次会议的主题是:中国娱乐电视发展20年回顾(The Evolving Landscape of Entertainment TV in China: A 20-Year Review),重点研究和探讨中国电视媒体与娱乐节目的历史,现状与发展。本次会议在学会现任主席 刘宇昕 的主持下拉开帷幕,她发表了开幕致辞和会议日程安排。紧接着是学会创始人周天杨的精彩发言和学会介绍。在两位主席的精彩演讲之后,东英吉利亚大学文学,媒体与美国研究的院长Dr Malcolm Mclaughlin,和电影电视和媒体研究学院的Dr Sanna Inthorn代表学院发表了会议欢迎致辞。

本次会议分为三个panel,分别为:Popular Culture & TV; Reality TV: An Empirical Perspective和Globalisation, Transformation, and Technologies。相关领域的学术研究者们,分别进行了学术演讲。值得一提的是,这次会议中,我们举办了一个关于学术出版的workshop,四位经验丰富的专家:Dr. Jinghan Zeng (曾敬涵), Dr. Patricia Prieto-Blanco, Po-Han Lee, and Tianyang Zhou(周天杨)分别为大家从杂志编辑者和学术研究角度等方面介绍了学术出版需要注意的相关事项。最后,会议在Dr. Yan Wu(吴燕)的结语(Concluding Remark)中落下帷幕。吴燕教授认真总结了本次会议的内容和亮点,为会议的举办画上了圆满的句号。

再次,我们 UK-China Media and Cultural Studies Association全体成员,衷心感谢各位老师的帮助和指导意见,尤其是吴燕老师,Dr Sanna Inthorn老师和曾敬涵老师的全力支持。另外,我们还要感谢英国东英吉利大学的财政资助和支持,还有英国苏塞克斯大学,斯旺西大学,莱斯特大学,卡迪夫大学等院校的合作支持,以及所有参加本次会议的媒体研究学者们的参与和鼓励。最后,当然少不了我们辛勤的志愿者们,他们是来自东英吉利大学的媒体硕士们,负责会议的接待场务和摄像工作。我们下一届的年会和电影节正在筹划当中,欢迎您的参与。




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The First Biennial Conference of UK-China Media and Culture Studies Association is an audacious effort initiated by graduate students from media and communication studies across UK to build a network of students and researchers who share similar interest in the study of Chinese media. As this association’s inaugural meeting, it attracts a wide range of research project, brilliant researchers and graduate students from all over the world. The topic ranges from journalism studies, popular culture studies, media representation, to nation branding and media policy and regulations.

The collection of papers presented at this conference reflects some of the new and emerging trends concerning media studies in China. For example, comparative studies regarding how cross-cultural news organizations provide contentious viewpoints in covering Sino-African relationship (Able Ugba), environmental issues (Song Lin), and different patterns of online journalism (Guy Starkey and Hao Ye). Issue of representation of minority groups in popular culture, especially homosexuality (Tianyang Zhou) and the construction of youth and sexuality in commercial advertising (Shulin Gong) are also examined critically in their potential consequences in shaping public (mis)perceptions. Especially, Tianyang Zhou’s study provides a valuable insight into how homosexuality is been mis-represented in popular cinema and therefore further exacerbated and reinforced the heterosexual norms through textual analysis.

Online public is also a key theme in this conference. For example, papers discussed at the conference address the difficulties in conceptualizing online nationalism along the conflicting “nation-loving” and “country-loving” publics (Jing Cheng) and the simplification and problematic ways of gauging online public opinions and its intricate relationship with public policy making process (Lianrui Jia). Moreover, progression and development of media control and regulation in China and its impact on foreign news organizations and foreign correspondence in China has also been addressed in one of the keynote speeches by Professor Richard Sambrook from Cardiff University. Dr. Paul Bowman’s keynote provides an interesting investigation into how “Qigong” has been constructed, packaged, and sold to audience as an ancient Chinese art in contemporary (Western) world. The popularity of QiGong demonstrates how clashes and collapses between temporalities and geography in the global flow of communication and information.

In sum, the First Biennial Conference of UK-China Media and Culture Studies Association provides a glimpse into the emerging research on Chinese media and offers a great platform for scholars to build research network and collaboration. The range of comparative work is also top-notch. It leaves us much to look for for next biennial conference 2017 at the University of East Anglia, in Norwick, UK.