Public Humiliation: Carnival Marketplace and Discourse Power Shifting in Chinese Social Media

  • Minghua WuEmail author
Part of the Encounters between East and West book series (EEWIP)


This article aims to explore the Chinese mechanisms for civic participation and how power shifts take place in Chinese social media today. This article proposes a framework of “Carnivalesque participatory discourse” to provide a deeper, more contextually-valid understanding of Internet culture and behaviour in Chinese online communities. This is illustrated through media events of the Smiling Face of Yang Dacai and 7.21 Beijing Flood in which one smile or one sentence lead to public humiliation and fire. This research looks at the carnival marketplace features of the Chinese public sphere that defeat other ways for disciplining officials, and those features of Sina Weibo that allowed for these cases to unfold and discourse power to shift.


Carnivalesque participatory discourse (CPD) Civic participatory culture Chinese social media Discourse power Networked public sphere Carnival marketplace 



This work was supported by the [The Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities in China] under Grant [number 0232005202001].


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. and Higher Education Press 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Journalism and CommunicationChongqing UniversityChongqingChina

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