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10th Annual Chinese Internet Research Conference: Social Media, Digital Entertainment, Governance & Social Movements

CIRC10 examined trends and themes exploring the ways in which the Internet and other technologies interact with Chinese cultural and social life. Hosted by USC Annenberg School of Communication & Journalism.

December 7, 2012

Ten years ago, when China’s Internet population totaled 22.5 million and Facebook and Twitter had not even been conceived, a group of researchers came together at the University of Southern California to organize a conference to study the internet in China. By all indications even then, it was clear that China would have a major impact on the global digital economy. Ten years on, that foresight has been vindicated.

China today has the largest Internet population of any country and it has made its presence felt in the Internet space. In all aspects of the Internet – online gaming, micro blogging, search engines, e-commerce, content regulation, Internet governance, international domain names – China is both changing and being changed by the Internet.

The annual Chinese Internet Research Conference (CIRC) investigates these phenomena, asking probing questions into what, how, to what extent, and why these changes are taking and have taken place.

The 10th Annual Chinese Internet Research Conference – CIRC10 – was held on May 21-22, 2012, in Los Angeles, the world’s entertainment capital. It was sponsored, as was the initial CIRC conference by the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.

CIRC10 examined trends and themes as we explore the ways in which the Internet and other technologies interact with Chinese cultural and social life.

Read an article about the conference.

View the CIRC website here.



Opening Remarks, Dean Ernest Wilson III , USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism
Keynote Speaker: Ge Wang, founder & CTO, SMULE

Panel 1- China's Internet Governance
Moderator: Ang Peng Hwa, Director, Singapore Internet Research Centre, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

  • “A Fully Automated Method to Catch and Characterize Deleted Posts on Sina and Tencent Weibo.” Cedric Sam, YY Chan, D. Bandurski, Fu King Wa, University of Hong Kong.
  • “Impact of China on Global Internet Governance in Era of Privatized Control.” Severine Arsene, Yahoo-Fellow-In-Residence, Georgetown University.
  • “Reconsidering Community Medium in Context of Internet.” Fei Jiang, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences; Kuo Huang, China International Publishing Group.
  • “Laws and Economics of  Network Governance: Network Convergence and Deregulation in China” Benjamin Chiao, Henry Ling-Hu, Shanghai University of Finance & Economics.

Panel 2- National Identity, Global Influence
Moderator: Clayton Dube, Executive Director, USC US-China Institute

  • “Patriotic Leisure: E-Sports, Government Policy & National Image.”-Marcella Szablewicz, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  • “The World as Seen Through Tianditu: An exploratory Study of China’s Online Mapping Service.” Yu-Wen Chen, Academia Sinica, Taiwan
  • “Chinese National Search Engine: National Identity, Ideological State Apparatus or Panopticon?” Min Jiang, Kristen Okamoto, UNC Charlotte.

Panel 3- Chinese University of Communications-Mapping Online Entertainment: Interplay of Politics, Economy, and Culture
Moderator: Yu Hong, Asst. Professor, USC Annenberg

  • Yun Long, PhD, professor and deputy director of the National Center for Radio & Television Studies at Communication University of China.
  • Lei Zhang,  Associate Research Fellow in National Centre for Radio and Television Studies at Communication University of China.
  • Amanda Ting Zhou, Associate Professor in National Center for Radio and Television Studies, Communication University of China.
  • Jidong Li, associate professor of National Center for Radio and Television Studies at Communication University of China.
  • Deqiang Ji, assistant research fellow of National Center for Radio and Television Studies at Communication University of China.

Panel 4- Internet & Politics
Moderator: Randy Kluver, Associate Professor, Texas A&M University

  • “Mediated Citizenship or Mediatized Politics? Political Discourse on Chinese Internet.” Bingchun Meng, London School of Economics.
  • “Neglected and Excluded Aspect: Critical Perspectives on Internet Research in Mainland China.” Bu Wei, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
  • “NGO2.0 and Social Media Action Research.” Jing Wang, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  • “The Virtual Road to Power: A Case Study on the Growth Trajectory of Chinese Online Opinion Leaders.” Yawei Liu, Sean Ding, Mei “Calanthia” Lan. Carter Center.


A discussion on the influence of culture on creativity and gaming between Ernest Wilson, Dean of USC Annenberg, and Jenova Chen,

Panel 5- Doctoral Student Panel
Moderator: Jack Qiu, Associate Professor, Chinese University of Hong Kong.

  • “Productive vs. Pathological: Two Faces of Consumer Labor in China’s Online Gaming Industry.” Lin Zhang, USC Annenberg.
  • “Defending Authoritarian Regime Online: Rise of Voluntary Fifty Centers in Chinese Cyberspace.” Rongbin Han, University of California, Berkeley
  • “Colonized Microblogsphere? Verification System’s Impact on Online Opinion Leadership in Sina Weibo” Jiachun Hong, Southern Illinois University of Carbondale.
  • “Internet Use, Political Efficacy, State Governance: Studies of Political Participation and Government Reactions in the Information Age.” Leizhen Zang, Peking University.
  • “Power of Online Activism in China: Study of Li Zhuang Case.” Zhaowen Wu, Beijing Foreign Studies University.
  • “Sensitive Words vs. Anti Sensitive Words in China’s Online Discourse: A Semiotic Resistance.” Qi Gu, Wake Forest University.
  • “The Sent Down Internet: Going Online in Rural China.” Elisa Oreglia, University of California, Berkeley.
  • “Informational Use of Social Networking Sites By Chinese Students To Their Political Participation.” Huan Sun, Massachussetts Institute of Technology.

Poster Presentation, Doctoral Students

  • “Discovering Miss Puff, an example of economic and cultural success within the context of the Chinese Videosharing service.” Gianluigi Negro, University of Lugano; Zhan Zhang, Univeristà della Svizzera Italiana; Vincenzo De Masi, Zurich University.
  • “Will Microblogging affect Chinese Journalists Professional identities?” Cui Di, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
  • “Representation, Participation, and Democratization: The Effects of E-Governance in China.” Samantha Chiu, Texas A&M University.
  • “A Study of Transnational Entertainment Spheres in Chinese Cyberspace.” Jing Zhao, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee

Panel 6- Social Media, Internet Communities
Moderator: Hu Yong, Assoc. Professor, Peking University

  • “Rising Influence of Microblogs.” Eric Harwit, University of Hawaii; Duncan Clark, BDA Communications.
  • “Why Grassroots Stars Shine: Examining Social Media Audiences’ Motives And Involvement.” Shaojing Sun, Fudan  University; Mihye Seo, University at Albany, State University of New York; Ying Wang, Youngstown State University.
  • “A Long Term View of China’s Microblog Politics.” Yawei Liu, Carter Center
  • “New Media Technologies in China’s ‘New Socialist Countryside’: Techno-Sustenance and the Possibilities for Social Transformation,” Cara Wallis, Texas A&M University
  • “Frenemy: How Chinese Journalists Perceive the Internet.” Jonathan Hassid, University of Technology, Sydney, and Maria Repnikova, University of Oxford.

Introduction by Andrew Lih, Assoc Prof., USC Annenberg and author of Wikipedia Revolution.

Ting Chen, Wikimedia Foundation

Videos of the presentations are available at the USC US-China Institute YouTube channel.