#57 – Western Populism Through the Prism of Chinese Public Opinion

Ma Tianjie 马天杰, writer behind Chublic Opinion — a blog about public opinion with Chinese characteristics


Date: Monday, December 19th
Time: 7:00PM (arrive early to secure a seat)
Location: The Bridge Cafe, Wudaokou


The election of Donald Trump as President of the United States is not only a watershed event in American politics. It also stirs up intensive debates in the Chinese cyberspace, exposing fault lines that run deep in online communities today.

Why would educated and intellectually curious Chinese netizens find Donald Trump appealing to them?

Why do people sitting in comfortable apartments in Beijing become so agitated by Europe’s embracing of Syrian refugees? And why would a society that has barely lifted itself from poverty  become so impatient with liberal ideas of taking care of the poor?

To answer these questions, one needs to understand who is influencing Chinese public opinions on these issues, what has shaped the public’s views over time and why certain ideas “stick” while others don’t.

The emergence of social media platforms such as Weibo and WeChat in recent years have revolutionized the political discourse in China.

The once one-way-street of information dissemination from the state has become a crowded and noisy street market of competing ideas.

As much as these platforms “democratize” the online space, they also shatter longtime “consensuses” and realign social values, for better or for worse. The implications of this new landscape for social governance, policy making and international relationships merit exploration.

On December 19th, join us at the Bridge Cafe in Wudaokou to hear Ma Tianjie explore some of the aforementioned themes based on his observation of Chinese online debates in the past few years.



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