This study examines the perception of everyday nationalism in China on the widely-used social media platform Weibo. A Zhong Ge is a virtual image of the nation of China created by the new form of grassroots nationalists iZhongs with various popular cultural elements. Studying this case could shed light on the developing situation of Chinese nationalism in the context of social media. The research tries to discuss: How do the younger generation of Chinese social media users make sense of everyday discourses about nationalism which utilize popular culture to personify the nation in the case of A Zhong Ge? It is worth studying because it is important to understand how young people experience nationalism and discover themselves in the new form of nationalism in China. It could provide a lens to dig into ordinary people’s perceptions of everyday nationalism in China. To answer these questions, this study used in-depth interviews with semi-structured questions in six sections: (1) Background information; (2) Familiarity with discourses of A Zhong Ge; (3) Fans-circle girl/ iZhong, popular culture and nationalism; (4) Everyday experiences of A Zhong Ge; (5) Understandings of A Zhong Ge with other nationalism events; (6) Understandings about national identity construction in A Zhong Ge. 12 Chinese overseas students across eight countries and regions have been invited to one-to-one video call interviews via communication apps WeChat and WhatsApp. By means of a qualitative discourse analysis of these interviews, the study finds that younger generation social media users in the sample offered contradictory evaluations of A Zhong Ge image. And the familiarity of popular cultures may affect social media users’ perception of nationalistic discourses used by iZhongs on social media. In addition, the younger generation of social media users who are outside of this community may show negative attitudes towards fan culture and fan girls (iZhongs). Besides, the younger generation of social media users are aware that the role of the official mainstream media is affecting public opinion. Last but not least, the younger generation of social media users outside of the iZhong community are more likely to mute themselves in the context of A Zhong Ge nationalism to avoid risks.

, , , , , , ,
Dumitrica, D.
Media, Culture & Society
Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication

Peng, Lizhen. (2021, September). Everyday nationalism on social media in China: A study of A Zhong Ge. Media, Culture & Society. Retrieved from