On COVID-related Disinformation
Disinformation narratives around COVID-19 are often "transnational and intertextual constructs, which involve the practices of (mis)translating and referencing foreign source texts to paradoxically delegitimate the foreign Other; they reinforce what I call self-serving cosmopolitanism, a narcissistic and locally conditioned sense of global consciousness that is oriented towards the consolidation of self-identity and pride."
"To combat global disinformation about COVID-19, we should foreground the politics of translation, enhance cross-cultural sensibility, and most importantly, mobilize a kind of counter-politics against the xenophobic nationalism that disinformation narratives often parasitize."
On China's Emerging Social Credit System
Although China's emerging social credit system (SCS) is "framed officially as an all-encompassing project aimed at building trust," it, in effect, "reduces the moral and relational dimension of trust in social interactions."
"Algorithmic technologies, thriving on a moral economy characterized by impersonality, impede the formation of trust and trustworthiness as moral virtues. The algorithmic rationality underlying the SCS undermines the ontology of relational trust, forecloses its transformative power, and disrupts social and civic interactions that are non-instrumental in nature."
On Popular Music and National identity
"The revival of classical red songs has taken a participatory and performative turn...This fervent wave of choral flash mobs and singing competitions constitutes a re-emerging sonic infrastructure grounded in local and identity-based communities where music is circulated and practiced in the service of national cohesion."
"Characterized by liveness, embodiment, participation, and performance, choral flash mobs enable a spectacular and aesthetic representation of national identity, where top-down ideological governance coalesces with bottom-up nationalist sentiment."
On Propaganda/Ideotainment in China
There has been “a broader shifting trend of propaganda and thought work in China, where new technologies, sensibilities, formats, and actors are incorporated to make ideological persuasion more unobtrusive and appealing to the populace, especially the younger generations."
"[I]deotainment in China illuminates how politics is intricately intertwined with aesthetics and affects, and increasingly adapted to youth subcultures, popular tastes and contemporary lifestyles."
On Parody and Civic Culture
"To understand the potentials of digital cultural citizenship, we need to move beyond the traditional notion of public sphere – into the domain of the private, or the terrain of everyday life; we need to understand people’s feelings and motives that are relevant to their civic agency. The affective and cultural dimensions of egao [or online parody] should be given more adequate attention."
"The parodies could be interpreted as young people’s cultural response to the social changes in China, which heighten the ambivalence of their social identity. Internet technologies construct outlets for young people to vent and share their anxiety, anger, frustration and fear regarding social tensions and inequalities. In these virtual meeting spaces, personal reinterpretations of hot-button issues are exchanged and discussions on lifestyle politics take place. These spaces are hybrid terrains blurring entertainment and politics."
On Live Streaming in China
"[T]he capitalist logic encroaches on all aspects of personal and social life, including bodies and affects, intimate domains, and previously non-monetizable interactions and activities. Desire is...externalized and commodified in the most blatant forms; users are at once enticed and entrapped, while the platform becomes the only winner of the game."
"The capitalist colonization of the social sphere replaces other types of values with market value, or extracts value from the invaluable – such as emotions, affections and bodies – to which no price tag should be attached. The commercial economy is overwhelming other types of economies."
On Emotion and Digital Journalism
"At the core of the intersection between emotions/affects and digital media technology is the match between the sociality of emotions/affects and the animating logic of digital news processes—the norms of interactivity and participation that propel the circulation of news content among the networked audience."
On Dialogical Journalism and Ethics of Care
"This dialogical approach undergirded by the ethics of care discards the transmission model of communication and prompts journalists to reflect the heterogeneous voices by the utterers whom they call 'sources.' It stands in contrast with the monologue that privileges the author’s latent values and purposes."
"To care means to value the quality of the desires and motivations, of the worth and ends, sought after by oneself and by others; to care means to listen to other voices different from one’s own, and to actively understand others’ perspectives, experiences and their 'surplus of seeing,' so that one could rethink one’s own perspectives and actions in a novel light."
On Diasporic Journalism
"The discursive practice of the Chinese diasporic media…moves away from objectivist norms of representation, and remains in close and constant interaction with the ethnic group's perception of social expectation and inter-group relations.”