Chinese Social Media: Promised Land or Panopticon?

Thursday, Feb 10, 2022

1:30pm - 3:00pm

Lecture by:
Dr. Ashley Esarey

A latecomer to the adoption of digital communication technology, China now has nearly one billion Internet users. Just like you, Chinese take to the web for myriad reasons and find creative ways to express their views, despite tightening information control during the Xi Jinping presidency. This talk surveys the development of the Chinese Internet, explains the government’s intense preoccupation with censorship, and relates why Chinese social media have become disconnected from global conversations, while remaining spaces where people find community, solidarity, and love. Using the Covid-19 pandemic as a case study, Professor Esarey shows how social media have been used (and abused) by citizens and the state and what this tells us about life and politics in China today.

About The Lecturer

Dr. Ashley Esarey

A former broadcast journalist, Dr. Ashley Esarey has been studying Chinese political communication for two decades, including two years of field research in the People’s Republic. He received his undergraduate education at Occidental College in Los Angeles, his MA, MPhil, and PhD in Political Science at Columbia University in New York, and was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University. Currently, Dr. Esarey is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Alberta, where he teaches courses on East Asian domestic politics and foreign relations and serves as Director of Taiwan Studies.