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Social Media and Collective Remembrance

The debate over China’s Great Famine on weibo
Hui Zhao and Jun Liu
p. 41-48


This paper provides one of the first studies on the role of social media in articulating individuals’ experiences and memories and (re-)shaping collective memory in contemporary China. It investigates how social media enable and facilitate the participation of ordinary citizens in distributing and accumulating alternative narratives and memories of the past against the authoritarian version by taking the debate over China’s Great Famine – a topic long considered a political taboo – on Sina Weibo, one of the country’s most popular social media sites, as the case study. This study demonstrates that weibo provides people with an alternative communicative sphere for sharing previously suppressed, marginalised, “unofficial” memories as civil disobedience and accumulating them into an alternative collective memory that is relevant to the changing socio-political context of China.

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Bibliographical reference

Hui Zhao and Jun Liu, « Social Media and Collective Remembrance », China Perspectives, 2015/1 | 2015, 41-48.

Electronic reference

Hui Zhao and Jun Liu, « Social Media and Collective Remembrance », China Perspectives [Online], 2015/1 | 2015, Online since 01 January 2017, connection on 19 June 2018. URL :

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About the authors

Hui Zhao

Hui Zhao is a PhD candidate in the Department of Strategic Communication at Lund University, Sweden. Universitetsplatsen 2, P.O. Box 882, SE – 25108, Helsingborg, Sweden (

Jun Liu

Jun Liu (corresponding author) is an assistant professor in the Department of Media, Cognition and Communication at University of Copenhagen. Karen Blixens Vej 4, 2300 Copenhagen S, Denmark (

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