Investigating Regional Prejudice in China Through the Lens of Weibo

  • Xi WangEmail author
  • Zhiya Zuo
  • Yang ZhangEmail author
  • Kang Zhao
  • Yung-Chun Chang
  • Chin-Shun Chou
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 10047)


Regional prejudice is prevalent in Chinese cities where native residents and migrants from other parts of China lack mutual trust. Weibo users actively discuss and argue about the issue of migration, which provides a good source of data to examine the communication network regarding regional prejudice. We are interested in the posts and reposts related to the topic on migrants. In a Weibo repost, one can add new content in addition to the original post. Then both original and new content as a whole can be read by others. In particular, we focus on the reposts in response to native residents’ complaints about migrants. Based on the sentiment (negative or non-negative) and the direction (native resident\(\rightarrow \)migrant or migrant\(\rightarrow \)native resident), we classify the reposts into four categories. We find evidence of homophily in regional prejudice in the Weibo communication network: 72.7 % of the time, native residents’ complaints trigger more complaints from other native residents. What interests us most are the socioeconomic factors that can reverse the sentiment or direction of the original posts. A multinomial regression model of the reposting patterns reveals that in a city with better housing security and a larger migrant population, migrant Weibo users are much more likely to argue with native residents who hold a negative view about migrants. One important implication from our findings is that a secure socioeconomic environment facilitates the communication between migrants and native residents and helps break the self-reinforcing loop of regional prejudice.


Weibo Regional prejudice Social network Sentiment analysis 


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© Springer International Publishing AG 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in InformaticsThe University of IowaIowa CityUSA
  2. 2.Department of Political ScienceThe University of IowaIowa CityUSA
  3. 3.Department of Management ScienceThe University of IowaIowa CityUSA
  4. 4.Institute of Information Science, Academia SinicaTaipeiTaiwan

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