The Impact of the Internet on Chinese Nationalism: The Emergence of Contentious Spaces Onlines
Garaud, Olivier C.
Cha, Victor D
This paper seeks to answer the question of why anti-Japanese nationalism related to historical memory of World War II has grown at such a rapid pace among Chinese internet-users despite several elements commonly understood to decrease the likelihood of such vitriolic nationalism. Using a comparative historical analysis of events in the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s, I argue that state-led movements such as the Patriotic Education Campaign alone cannot account for the rapid rise in nationalism since the late 1990s. Rather, with the arrival of the Internet in 1994 and its maturation by around 2000, new spaces for contentious politics opened online. These spaces have allowed nationalists in China to contend with the state over the "correct" historical narrative, sometimes constraining the center's ability to formulate and implement foreign policies, especially in the case of Japan, while at other times further legitimating CCP rule.
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