29 Apr 2022 10:00

China’s Networked Spectacles: Lessons on Public Discourse Management from Hu to Xi

Aula Magna Silvio Trentin, Ca' Dolfin, Dorsoduro 3825/E, Venezia e online

Florian Schneider, Leiden University

The People’s Republic of China (PRC) began the 21st century with a new-and-improved public relations approach. In the eyes of China’s propaganda experts, the PRC’s increasing economic, political, and cultural relevance in the world needed to be matched with a communication strategy that would alleviate suspicions about a potential ‘China Threat’ abroad while simultaneously showcasing the leadership’s policies to a domestic audience. A corner stone in this communication strategy has been the networked spectacle. Since the turn of the millennium, the PRC government has spent billions of RMB to host mass events like the Olympic Games, the World Exposition, and large-scale military parades. Each of these endeavours has been hailed by China’s state media as the grandest and most impressive event of its kind, and as China’s ultimate arrival on the world stage. In this talk, Florian Schneider (Leiden University) examines such large-scale projects to show how mass media events fit into China’s cultural governance approach. The talk explores the communication strategies that informed such events, and it shows how they have provided arenas for experimentation and innovation, allowing various elite actors in the PRC to create networks of political collaboration and recalibrate discourses about the Chinese nation. The talk will ask what the implications but also the limits of this approach to cultural governance are, and it concludes with a discussion of how the lessons from these events have carried over into the Xi Jinping era.

Florian Schneider, PhD, Sheffield University, is Senior University Lecturer in the Politics of Modern China at the Leiden University Institute for Area Studies. He is managing editor of Asiascape: Digital Asia, director of the Leiden Asia Centre, and the author of three books: Staging China: The Politics of Mass Spectacle (Leiden University Press, 2019, recipient of the ICAS Book Prize 2021 Accolades), China’s Digital Nationalism (Oxford University Press, 2018), and Visual Political Communication in Popular Chinese Television Series (Brill, 2013, recipient of the 2014 EastAsiaNet book prize). In 2017, he was awarded the Leiden University teaching prize for his innovative work as an educator. His research interests include questions of governance, political communication, and digital media in China, as well as international relations in the East-Asian region.

The conference will be in-person and online upon registration.
Registration for in-person participation at: link
Registration for live streaming at: link

Organised by Beatrice Gallelli, Ca’ Foscari University & Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI)


L'evento si terrà in inglese


Department of Asian and North African Studies and Asia Institute (Beatrice Gallelli); Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI)


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