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Day 1 14:00 Panel 4

Cyber Communities

Frankopan Hall

Gabriel F. Y. TSANG, Huang Jingyuan, Li Wanqi

Gabriel F. Y. TSANG

Sun Yat-sen University, Associate Researcher (Previous President of BPCS)

Postcolonial Locality of Hong Kong Internetisation: A Cultural Study of the Stories in the Golden Forum and the LIHKG Forum

Internetisation initiates a global migration of capital and human desires from the real world to a virtual community. Without artificial deployment, it collaborates with globalisation that Ban Wang interprets as economically transcending the boundaries of capital-intensive metropolises towards marginal regions and politically exercising imperial domination against others. (2004:1) Technically removing geographical inaccessibility and interpersonal hindrance, Internetisation fosters globalisation with its perfect duplication of commercial rationality and rapid spread of hegemonic culture. With strict institutional surveillance over consumer-to-consumer (C2C) e-commerce, such as the sales of the Bible, and online social networks, such as WeChat and QQ, the Chinese government pragmatically maintained an equilibrium between international connection and ideological unity while achieving “China Dream” online. Hong Kong, as the parented capitalist counterpart of China, reveals a different progress of Internetisation that deserves much geopolitical attention. Due to the freedom of speech protected by Article 27 of the Basic Law, the Hong Kong Internet is still free from the mission of unifying public consciousness within a politically acceptable standard and towards a socialist goal. Its development does not follow the mainland propaganda, but populist diversity instead.

Hong Kong Internetisation, free from the mission of unifying public consciousness within a politically acceptable standard and towards a socialist goal, is creating locality in virtual public space, where instantaneous gratification overwhelms archaeological assess to profound historicity. This locality is independent of the political and high-cultural locality in the real public space that suits (post)colonial interpretation. The Storytelling Channels of the Golden Forum and the LIHKG Forum prominently comply with neither mainland Chinese progressive authoritarianism nor local political agendas, but personal desires and affection instead. The anonymous writing and reading of the Forum stories, as potentially outcomes of daily stress in the knowledge-based society, offer a controllable, superficial, and sensual escape into a vulgar, vernacular, but consensual textual world. Although most of the Forum stories are highly formulated, and erotic in an androcentric and heterosexual way, some can show authorial reflection on diverse issues, such as transgender ambivalence.

Huang Jingyuan

University of Oxford, Year 2 MPhil in Social Anthropology

Based on an ethnography of the Chinese online forum Ditiezu, this paper explores the perception of wǎngyǒu (online friends) among metrophiles in Wuhan, a major city in central China. To investigate how a wǎngyǒu’s popularity correlates with what they post, I examine the enthusiasm of post readers for being up-to-date about the progress in the planning and construction of the metro system, as well as their predilection for visual content shared online. First, this enthusiasm, juxtaposed for comparative purposes with common subjects of discussion on the London Underground forum, is connected with the social context. Second, the photos and vid eos shared on Ditiezu are dissimilar, in several aspects, to those posted on social media. They neither constitute an online gallery of the forum user, nor are cherished as the constituent parts of life history worth remembering. The preferences towards both the latest updates and visual information other than plain texts are linked to (dis)confirming of expectations amid communications, rather than generating personal and interpersonal memories. I argue that wǎngyǒu, reminiscent of Chinese traditional Ruist thoughts on making friends in two Classics Analects of Confucius and Liji (Book of Rites), is incompatible with the supposed western notion of ‘friendship’. This paper also touches upon distinctive local perceptions of urban infrastructural projects in contemporary China.

Li Wanqi

University of Nottingham, Year 3 PhD in Contemporary Chinese Studies

Cyberbullying has become a global problem in recent decades with the increased use of Information and Communication Technologies. The majority of studies focus on the causes and consequences of cyberbullying, with some research investigating the detection and prevention of cyberbullying occurring in English. However, in recent years cyberbullying has become an increasingly serious problem in China, yet limited research has covered the detection or prevention of cyberbullying in the Chinese language. China’s social media offers important cases and a promising natural laboratory for the investigation of cyberbullying phenomenon. Thus, based on the semantics and pragmatics theory and language management theory, this research uses Sina Weibo as a case to analyse language features that occur during cyberbullying in Chinese, proposing an approach based on language meanings and usages for cyberbullying detection. This paper will use case studies and content analysis methods to answer two main research questions: 1) what are the language characteristics and usages of cyberbullying contents on social media; and 2) how to propose non-legal and soft measures to detect and diminish cyberbullying on social media based on gender, contextual and sociolinguistics factors? This is an interdisciplinary study. During the primary research approach, three main methods for detecting cyberbullying are studied, including offensive or abusive words, normal words with special meaning in sentence structures, alongside social relationship features. The hypotheses of this research are that contextual factors are primary and important elements of classifying and identifying cyberbullying words, and at the same time, cyberbullying or sensitive cyberbullying word features or usages can provide a reference of analyze different cyberbullying context. The findings will help expand the field of cyberbullying detection into other languages, and refine theories, particularly those on offensive information and behaviour. It also benefits academic understanding of cyberbullying and media regulation and governance.

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