Domestic Factors in China’s International Relations Discourse: Chinese Debates on the Role of Public Opinion
Two contrasting perspectives have been featured in recent years about the role of domestic public opinion in China’s foreign policy making. On the one hand, the bottom-up viewpoint is that popular nationalism is a driving force in policymaking, influencing decisions on Japan and the United States, among other matters. Commercialized media appeal to it, official statements cater to it, and leaders pay close attention as they seek to increase their popularity by choosing policies with broad support. On the other hand, the top-down perspective holds that public opinion is manipulated as a tool of national policy through the Central Propaganda Department and other mechanisms. Official directives make clear what line should be taken by the media and netizens on sensitive issues and what cannot be permitted. While foreign interpretations vacillate between these two extremes—lately tilting toward the latter—they do not sufficiently address the contemporary Chinese debates on the subject.
Chinese discourse opens another window on how one should look at the role of public opinion in policymaking. While in some ways misleading, as the censorship apparatus limits the dimensions of this discourse, it still warrants our attention. After all, it figures into discussions about how China conducts its foreign policy and how to influence Chinese policymaking through both its top-down and bottom-up processes. From Chinese discourse, we are able to learn about new mechanisms employed by the party-state for influencing and shaping public opinion, as well as to grasp the new dimensions of bottom-up forces and their role in framing how China is behaving on the international stage.
Analysis of Chinese discourse on domestic factors in international relations reveals the increasing attention paid to the influence of domestic public opinion on foreign policymaking by Chinese experts and officials. A recent influential article by Zhang Qingmin, for instance, stresses the importance of understanding domestic influences on China’s international behavior and lists public opinion as a key factor, alongside economic trends, the arms industry, and think tanks.1 Wang Cungang’s in-depth analysis of different actors partaking in China’s foreign policymaking highlights general public opinion as significant in shaping the relations between China and the United States, as well as between China and Japan.2 Li Suzhi argues that the influence of social factors, namely public opinion, on foreign policy is gaining strength daily.3 A piece by Li Kaicheng on China’s domestic factors published in an official on-line forum stresses the importance of recognizing a rising societal interest in foreign affairs.4 All these opinions call for a deeper assessment of China’s discourse on the dynamics between public opinion and foreign policy making.
This article illuminates the discussion of the public opinion factor in China’s international relations by delving into Chinese academic and media reports, as well as official press releases. The discussion on public sentiment takes on a cautionary tone, portraying it as a double-edged sword for foreign policy makers. The official discourse stresses the importance of effective guidance, as well as better engagement of public opinion in support of the party’s foreign policy objectives. At the same time, most works concur that the agenda-setting influence of netizens and mass media remains limited. The government’s approach towards public opinion on foreign issues, therefore, strongly resembles that of its general policy towards the mass media and public discussions on domestic affairs.
The Rise of Public Opinion as a Factor: What It Is and Where It Comes From
While the concepts of nationalism and cyber-nationalism feature most prominently in Western analysis, Chinese studies and media reports tend to opt for the general terms of “people’s will” (minyi), “common people” (putong gongzhong), and “societal environment” (shehui huanjing) in their discussions. Chinese writings seem interested in examining the rising public interest in foreign issues more broadly and appear reluctant to initially frame it as nationalism. Their overwhelming focus on Sino-Japan tensions, however, makes it apparent that they are engaging with the very issue of popular nationalism, which concerns Western scholars. By using terms like “people’s will,” therefore, they might be attributing greater importance to nationalist sentiments, suggesting that they represent wider public demands on the government.
In discussing the evolving public interest in foreign affairs, Chinese writings are concerned with the recent emergence of nationalism. Li Suzhi, for instance, argues that from the late 1970s into the early 1990s, the public was primarily focused on domestic issues as the country was undergoing far-reaching economic reforms.5 From 1995 onwards, the interest started to shift more towards international issues and strong nationalistic attitudes began to emerge into the open. The publication of the popular book titled “China Can Say ‘No’” in 1995 marks this shift for some scholars.6
The studies examined attribute this emergence and intensification of popular nationalism to several key factors, including a changing media environment, China’s stronger involvement in the international arena, and the prevailing sensitive memories of national humiliation by foreign powers. As for the media landscape, these works refer to state-initiated commercialization of the media in the late 1970s, which allowed Chinese citizens to experience a more diversified and dynamic media environment by the 1990s. The changes in China’s media landscape during the reform era have been documented by China’s media scholars.7 The circulation of commercialized papers, catering to the public’s rising interest in foreign affairs peaked in that period.8 Most recently, from 2005 onwards, the rise of the Internet and especially micro-blogging (weibo) has greatly facilitated Chinese citizens’ engagement with international issues, as it provided platforms for discussion and mobilization, as well as important sources of information on foreign affairs. Li Kaicheng’s examination of micro-blogging platforms and the blogosphere, for instance, found that the postings on international issues make up about half of the total,9 which means that foreign issues are as popular as domestic ones for Chinese netizens.
China’s emergence from isolation into an active player in the international sphere further facilitates Chinese citizens’ concern for foreign issues, according to Chinese writings. China’s recent engagement in as culturally and geographically distant places as the African continent and South America, for instance, brings Chinese citizens into the global web. The emergence of China’s distinct model of economic governance, challenging the Western-dominated global economic system, as demonstrated by China’s strong performance following the recent financial crisis, also arouses domestic public confidence and nationalistic aspirations.
Finally, a number of works refer to complex national identity overshadowed by recent memories of national humiliation by foreign powers as significant in swaying public views in the nationalistic direction. Wang Jisi, for instance, argues that Chinese citizens’ interest in foreign policy is significantly higher than that of their American counterparts because “China’s international relations are directly intertwined with the very survival of the nation.”10 This strong statement alludes more to China’s recent past than to its present. Other scholars describe China’s nationalistic public opinion as being rooted in a “tragic sense of national conscience” (beiqing yishi), especially with regard to ongoing tensions with Japan.11 The devastating China-Japan war, marked by the Nanjing massacre of 1937, remains a highly sensitive matter in today’s China, resonating in painful memories of national humiliation for common citizens. The so-called “century of humiliation,” however, dates back to the First Opium War of the mid-19th century, and has been often invoked in Chinese writings as an argument in favor of China’s rapid resurgence and pursuit of global ambitions. The combination of a diversified and interactive media environment, China’s more active participation in global issues, and the persisting memories of national humiliation, therefore, work together in spreading and intensifying China’s nationalist sentiments, according to Chinese writings. We now turn to the debates on the influence of public opinion on foreign policy making.
The Two-Sided Role of Nationalistic Public Opinion
Chinese writings are largely in agreement about nationalistic public opinion being a double-edged sword for China’s foreign policy makers: it can help strengthen China’s international objectives, but can also constrain its international maneuverings. The caution trumps the optimism in these studies, as they focus more strongly on the dangers rather than the benefits of popular nationalism.
To start with the positive attributions, Chinese academics and official commentators argue that vocal nationalism directly and indirectly helps to assert China’s foreign policy position, and also serves as a feedback mechanism for authorities on societal moods. As for the former, some refer to nationalistic public opinion as “boosting” (zhutui)12 or “yielding to” (qufu)13 official policy objectives. More specifically, it provides justification for official positions, especially concerning sensitive issues with other countries. Having public opinion backing allows policymakers to state their position more assertively. Wang Cungang, for instance, includes an example of Wen Jiabao referring to sensitive domestic public opinion in negotiating the exchange rate with the United States.14 Other writings note that authorities have been able to take a stronger stance in territorial disputes with Japan in part due to the wide public support. Nationalistic expression can also boost China’s position indirectly by affecting the opinions and thereby strategies of other nations in dealing with China. Zhao Ruiqi and Yang Zijie,15 for instance, argue that whereas official language has to adopt an ambiguous diplomatic tone, on-line public expression, on the contrary, is characterized by blunt and often emotional expression of opinions. They further note that foreign governments are paying close attention to these on-line discussions, quoting a Japanese newspaper’s coverage of China’s anti-Japan discussions. Writings also refer to nationalistic expression as useful in providing the government with a “red line” (hong xian) or “forbidden zone” (jingqu) in its foreign policy maneuverings.16 Having access to public debates either on-line, or via commercial media, allows authorities to selectively adjust their policies without risking losing public support.
While acknowledging the positive features of nationalistic expression for China’s international leverage, most writings view it, no less, as a potentially harmful influence on China’s foreign policy-making, as well as on domestic stability. The editor-in-chief of Shijie zhishi writes that “in recent years many politicians, foreign policy-makers, and international relations scholars expressed little positive sentiment about public diplomacy; they have come to know that irrational public opinion can bring about disastrous outcomes for the country.”17 Others describe China’s public opinion on international issues as “overly sensitive” (guodu minggan) and having destructive underpinnings, including illegal behavior, such as hacking, which hurts China’s foreign policy objectives by undermining its flexibility. A recent Huanqiu shibao editorial, for instance, argues that the public is unwilling to settle for a compromise in almost any domain when it comes to China’s international involvement, which is likely to diminish China’s potential to implement a more dynamic foreign policy in the near future.18 Chinese writings also express deep concern about the linkages between fervent on-line nationalism and offline protests (particularly against Japan), in part aimed at China’s own policies. Some academics describe the current relationship between foreign policy-making and nationalistic public opinion as that of a “vicious cycle,” with certain unsatisfactory foreign policy decisions giving rise to public discontent, which, in turn, further limits Chinese authorities in protecting their national interests. Other than presenting a direct constraint, some argue, nationalistic expression, especially in the form of violent protests, tarnishes China’s image of peaceful rise, which it has been carefully trying to project.19 Official sensitivity towards nationalistic discourse on foreign matters reflects wider weariness about public nationalism. Rongbin Han’s in-depth analysis of on-line platforms, for instance, uncovered the emergence of a group he calls “voluntary 50-centers”, comprised of netizens willingly defending party policies and attacking its critics.20 Han found that instead of rewarding this group, Chinese authorities have been cautiously watching it to ensure that its rhetoric would not endanger official policies and domestic stability. Given the double-edged sword of popular nationalism, Chinese writings are concerned with management of public opinion to maximize the gains without compromising national interests. The following section turns to this discussion.
Guide and Use Public Opinion: Official Approach to Nationalistic Expression
When it comes to managing nationalistic expression on foreign issues, Chinese writings concur that it is vital to engage in a more systematic and sophisticated preemptive guidance of public opinion. Effective guidance would in turn allow for successful mobilization of public opinion when needed and mitigate the potential risks of vocal public expression discussed above.
To start with the conceptual framework, Chinese writings, both academic and official, frequently evoke the term yulun yindao, in referring to management of nationalistic public opinion, which is translated as “leading”21 or “channeling public opinion.”22 This concept represents a wider policy towards the media, including on-line expression, which emerged under the Hu-Wen leadership. Yulun yindao is an upgraded version of yulun daoxiang, or guidance of public opinion by the media. Researchers from the China Media Project argue that “channelling is less focused on suppressing negative news coverage and more concerned with spinning news in a direction favourable to the leadership.”23 This process includes both public relations campaigns in the form of press conferences and official interactions with netizens, as well as censorship directives via the Central Propaganda Department, which can range from complete blocking of a certain subject to providing detailed instructions on how it should be covered, to deleting or adjusting content on-line after it has been posted.
Analysis of discourse on yulun yindao in connection with on-line nationalism found that it reflects this policy towards mass media more broadly, with emphasis placed on soft and indirect shaping of public opinion via interactive platforms—to engage the public in a conversation rather than to dictate the party line from the top-down. Wang Junshen argues that foreign policymakers realized the need to appear responsive to on-line public opinion and incorporated on-line and off-line dialogue with netizens into their day-to-day work.24 An overview of recent press releases from the Foreign Ministry shows the official emphasis on respecting on-line public opinion and encouraging open dialogue with the public. In December 2013, for instance, the Foreign Affairs Ministry organized a “spontaneous talk on China’s foreign policy,” inviting over a hundred citizens from all over the country to meet face-to-face with policymakers to learn about China’s engagement in international issues.25 The event was widely publicized in China’s mass media. The Foreign Ministry has recently implemented a regular “open day to the public” event that involves conversation between officials and citizens.26 It also created on-line platforms for citizen-official interaction directly administered by the Foreign Ministry and indirectly managed by state-run media. Renmin ribao, for instance, set up a popular BBS forum dealing with international affairs called “powerful country forum” (qiang guo luntan), which has over 1.1 million registered users.27 Other popular official forums include tiexue and junshijia, two of China’s leading military online interactive platforms that frequently feature discussions on international issues.28
Chinese writings applaud the official efforts discussed above, but also stress the importance of further “educating” and “nurturing” public opinion. In referring to the activities of the Foreign Affairs Ministry discussed above, for instance, Li Kaicheng argues that “they still have done too little.”29 “Considering that China has several hundred million netizens, which have individual views towards every foreign policy, the Foreign Affairs Ministry needs to use more channels to facilitate interaction between netizens and officials at each level,” he writes. The radical and overly sensitive public opinion is partially a result of the public’s insufficient knowledge and simplified understanding of international affairs, according to these writings. Some authors strike deeper and invoke the concept of “quality” (suzhi) in discussing public opinion, arguing that Chinese citizens need to be intensely guided in order to “improve the quality of their character.”30 This reflects a wider discussion on population quality, especially concerning rural residents. Authorities of all ranks have used this ambiguous concept to justify various development policies. As argued by Kipnis, “reference to suzhi justifies social and political hierarchies of all sorts, with those of ‘high’ quality gaining more income, power and status than the ‘low.’”31 Though most netizens come from an urban, relatively well-off background, Chinese writings still attribute “low character” to what they perceive as their simplistic views on foreign policy. Use of suzhi in this context, however, is not surprising, given that it has been widely popularized in the last two decades. Linking the notions of worldliness and better education to a higher suzhi has been common in popular writings.32
In advocating for a tougher stance on public opinion, Chinese writings ironically evoke both the examples of Mao and the United States. Chen Jian, the former vice-secretary general of the UN, again invokes Mao by referring back to a story of Mao’s emotional reaction to Jiang Jieshi’s (Chiang Kaishek, the head of the Kuomintang party) capture.33 At first Mao wanted to kill Jiang, but then decided to use him in the anti-Japan resistance movement. “If such a great Marxist leader could initially react irrationally at an unexpected event, how can we demand ordinary people to not get emotional?” he asks. He further argues that officials must observe and influence public opinion, but also accept public emotional response as an ordinary behavior and not let it significantly sway China’s foreign policy direction. Other writings refer to the United States as having a highly efficient and centralized foreign policy making system, not allowing public opinion to get in the way of important objectives. Chinese writings, however, do not advocate putting a tighter lid on on-line expression, but rather urge authorities to be even more skillful in simultaneously grasping and shaping public sentiments. Jia Qingguo, for instance, argues “only when China’s foreign policies are made more transparent to the general public it would be possible to nurture a more desirable public sentiment.”34
Not surprisingly, a discussion of censorship directives is absent in the Chinese discourse on public opinion guidance. While China’s official writings stress interactive platforms and academic writings focus on educating the public, flexible but pervasive censorship remains a major part of the official strategy in managing public opinion. My past research on state-media relations in China found the directive of reporting only the Xinhua news version of events is widespread when it comes to foreign issues.35 That way the news is reported only from a restricted official angle. While the Foreign Ministry itself cannot engage directly in censorship it can do so via the Central Propaganda Department. The sensitivity of foreign issues shifts frequently depending on the political and international climate, requiring agile censorship strategies, which rely on attentive observation of the political landscape and public reactions to it on-line. Nationalistic and patriotic directives can also be channeled through the Central Propaganda Department to foster national unity and support for the regime when faced with domestic challenges. The “China Dream” slogan for instance, a patriotic call for citizens’ support for the party-state’s efforts in building a stronger China, carries nationalistic elements. And the very concept of suzhi evoked in Chinese writings in support of shaping public sentiments has been vigorously used by authorities as patriotic rhetoric. The use of the “50-cent army” of government-paid commentators to infiltrate and promote a pro-party line further serves to induce more nationalistic sentiments on foreign issues. Censorship and surveillance in all its forms, therefore, absent in Chinese debates, is not only an important factor in yulun yingdao policy on foreign matters, but also a significant factor in facilitating popular nationalism.
Skirting censorship, Chinese writings still engage with the party-state’s potential to better make use of popular nationalism in asserting its foreign objectives. Here again, the authors refer to the United States, but also to Japan as successful cases in carrying out this practice. Lu Fengding, for instance, argues that both nations tend to fall back on domestic public opinion, largely shaped by mass media, in justifying their often unfair behavior towards China.36 An overview of recent media coverage of relations with Japan and the United States, however, shows that Chinese authorities are becoming increasingly skillful in using public opinion in pursuing international leverage. A widely cited editorial on escalation of tensions between China and Japan, for instance, argues that China’s dispatch of aircraft fighters into the Diaoyu Islands is in line with China’s domestic public opinion. “The entire Chinese society is ‘verbally protesting’ against Japan, Chinese people strongly hope that our nation will take all practical actions to safeguard our sovereignty and suppress Japan’s arrogance,” writes the author.37 Another Huanqiu shibao editorial complements Kerry on making a speech during his latest visit to Beijing that appeals to China’s general public. Specifically, the author commends him on stating that the United States would not seek to contain China’s rise. “Kerry has certainly said a number of things while in China, including the old time slogan of ‘exerting pressure,’ but one sentence expressing positive intentions towards China helped him win over China’s public opinion,” the editorial asserts.38 The mention of public opinion here is subtly fused into the core argument of the editorial, with public sentiment almost serving as a buffer between Chinese leadership and that of the United States. Here again, it is obvious, that censorship directives are at play in mobilizing and making use of public opinion for international leverage.
Finally, it is important to note the little discussion devoted to a separate feedback role of public opinion. As Wang Cungang argues, the relationship between public opinion and Chinese authorities is interactive, but not institutionalized.39 The official response to nationalistic opinion is not systematic, and the overall influence on policy change remains very weak. The authorities are more likely to directly react to public demands when they are vocal enough to compromise domestic stability, as was the case with the anti-Japan protests. This reaction, however, is a mix of appeasing and containing the public. Zhang Qingmin writes that while authorities at first tolerated the 2005 anti-Japan protests, they then abruptly halted them, arresting 16 people and detaining many others.40 Other authors note that given the strongly nationalistic and simplified rhetoric of public opinion debates, it is thus far not useful in providing “constructive” (jianshexing) input into foreign policy making.41 Once public opinion matures, however, it might play a more active role as a direct feedback mechanism, according to these writings.
To conclude the discussion on the official approach towards public expression on international issues, one might argue that it strongly resembles that towards public debates on domestic matters. The active engagement with public opinion, combined with censorship, also reflects a larger tendency on behalf of Chinese authorities to monitor public discourse. My own extensive interviews with China’s crisis management officials and scholars in the summer of 2012 found that central authorities have actively embarked on a campaign of raising officials’ on-line presence and responsiveness to on-line public opinion more broadly. Similarly to international matters, Chinese authorities also actively mobilize public opinion in justifying their domestic reforms. Stability and sovereignty are also the key principles in determining the party-state’s reactions to outspoken expression on domestic issues. As a recent Harvard study demonstrated, China’s Internet censorship is most pervasive when it comes to issues concerning offline mobilization, which can incite domestic instability.42 Discussions about possible protests, therefore, are most alarming to Chinese authorities regardless of whether they concern domestic or international matters. Finally, the direct influence of on-line expression on domestic policy making also remains scattered, with authorities selectively responding to public demands.
The discussion above has a number of important implications for understanding the dynamics between popular nationalism and foreign policy making in China. First, it demonstrates the increasing adaptability of the Chinese party-state in dealing with popular nationalism. The policy of yulun yingdao, an innovation of the Hu-Wen administration, remains prevalent under Xi, as authorities are fortifying their efforts to engage and co-opt the public, while simultaneously actively censoring the media and public discussions on foreign issues. This showcases that the Chinese state is willing to “import” some Western communications tools to complement its own “home-grown” censorship methods to manage public sentiments. The public relations campaigns are only likely to accelerate, as more officials are being trained to communicate with the media and project transparency. The approach to censorship itself has been significantly adjusted in recent years. Rather than blocking out information on sensitive matters, the aim has been to adjust its framing and to use it in the government’s favor. Reporting an official line or infiltrating the Internet with patriotic comments is often preferred to blocking out problematic events entirely. This approach is proving to be effective, as it gives an impression of a more participatory foreign policy making process, while in practice still maintaining a tight lid on public participation. The official use of public nationalism in striking an assertive position vis-a-vis Japan or the United States is also a significant element in its adaptive strategy in managing popular sentiments. China is learning to readily fall back on public opinion in international negotiation—something we are likely to see more of in the years to come.
Second, the analysis shows that the regime’s treatment of popular nationalism is not an ad hoc isolated matter, but rather a fairly coherent approach, incorporated into a wider strategy of public opinion and media management. The very terms used for guiding public opinion on foreign issues, the tactics employed, and the actors involved, are the same as those featuring in dealing with domestic matters. In future analysis of the role of popular nationalism on China’s foreign policymaking, therefore, it is useful to contrast it with China’s treatment of public discourse on sensitive domestic matters. This would give us more insight into the shifting tactics with respect to public opinion. It is evident from the discussion here that the Chinese regime, while allowing for flexibility in reacting to popular nationalism, is doing so within a fairly coherent framework aimed at maintaining domestic stability.
Third, Chinese writings demonstrate that the relationship between domestic public opinion and foreign policy makers is an interactive one. The two forces influence each other, with the party-state maintaining the upper hand in containing this relationship. This article, therefore, shows that rather than engaging with China’s popular nationalism either from a top-down or a bottom-up perspective, combining the two is necessary in order to grasp this phenomenon.
Finally, the cautionary tone prevalent in Chinese writings shows that popular nationalism remains an important challenge for the Chinese regime, as it moves forward in asserting its role in the international system. Despite the innovative techniques, simultaneously mitigating, guiding, and inciting popular nationalism is a complicated task for Chinese leaders. Carefully and accurately distinguishing the fine line between nationalistic sentiment as a favorable force versus a threatening one for domestic stability is necessary in order to successfully implement the three objectives. This requires intensive and wide-reaching observation of public sentiments, which could become more problematic with the decline of weibo as a result of the recent official crackdown. The very crackdown itself demonstrates the conflicting priorities of the party-state—trying to put stricter boundaries on dissent while investing resources into official public relations platforms online. With netizens switching from a wide-reaching micro-blogging forum to a more personalized chat platform (weixin), it will become harder for authorities to grasp the extent of nationalistic sentiment about sensitive issues, and also to comprehensively guide the public as new manifestations of nationalistic expression continue to emerge. Moreover, as Chinese authorities embark on complicated domestic economic reforms and try to address growing public discontent with environmental pollution and corruption, among other issues, appealing to popular nationalism might increasingly present an attractive strategy to distract and unify the public in support of national objectives. The more the authorities promote nationalistic sentiment, however, the more adaptive they will have to be in managing it.
1. Zhang Qingmin, “Zhongguo duiwai guanxi de guonei guanli he guowai tongchou –guonei yinsu yu Zhongguo duiwai zhengce,” Shijie jingji yu maoyi, no. 8 (2013).
2. Wang Cungang, “Dangdai Zhongguo de waijiao zhengce: shei zai zhiding? shei zai yingxiang?—jiyu guonei xingwei de shijiao,” Waijiao pinglun, no. 2 (2012).
3. Zhang Diyu, “Minyi, yulun yu guojia duiwai juece de xuanze,” Shijie zhishi, no. 20 (2012): 14-22.
4. Li Kaicheng, “Zhongguo waijiao yao shanyong wangluo yulun,” Zhishi wang, March 9, 2010, http://www.21ccom.net/articles/zgyj/ggzhc/article_2010090217606.html.
5. Zhang Diyu, “Minyi, yulun yu guojia duiwai juece de xuanze,” 14-22.
7. See, for instance, Daniela Stockmann, Media Commercialization and Authoritarian Rule in China (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013). For Chinese writing linking media commercialization to rising popular nationalism see Wang Junshen, “Shehui: yingxiang Zhongguo waijiao xin yinsu,” Zhongguo yu shijie guancha, no. 2 (2011).
8. Jianwei Wang and Xiaojie Wang, “Media and Chinese Foreign Policy,” Contemporary China 23, no. 86 (2014): 216-235.
9. Li Kaicheng, “Zhongguo waijiao yao shanyong wangluo yulun.”
10. Wang Jisi, “Zhongmei waijiao juece de guonei huanjing bijiao,” Guoji zhengzhi yanjiu, no. 1, (2006): 7-9.
11. Zhao Ruiqi, Yang Zijie, “Wangluo yulun yu Zzhongguo waijiao de hudong—jiyu Dongya wangluo minzuzhuyi anli de kaocha,” Nanjing youdian daxue xuebao,(shehui kexueban), no. 3 (2013): 25-30.
12. Zhao Ruiqi, Yang Zijie, “Wangluo yulun yu Zhongguo waijiao de hudong,” 25-30.
13. Wang Cungang, “Dangdai Zhongguo de waijiao zhengce.”
14. Wang Cungang, “Dangdai Zhongguo de waijiao zhengce.”
15. Zhao Ruiqi and Yang Zijie, “Wangluo yulun yu Zhongguo waijiao de hudong.”
16. Li Kaicheng, “Zhongguo waijiao yao shanyong wangluo yulun.”
17. Zhang Dinyu, “Minyi, yulun yu guojia duiwai juece de xuanze,” 14-22.
18. “Keli fangwen Zhongguo: mei zai Yazhou changxiushangwu,” Huanqiu shibao, February 14, 2014, http://opinion.huanqiu.com/editorial/2014-02/4829757.html.
19. Hong Junhao, “Zhongguo de wangluo yulun: zai guoji guanxi lingyu yu zhengfu hudong,” Modern China Studies, no. 2 (2007).
20. Rongbin Han, “Defending Authoritarian Regime On-line: Rise of Voluntary Fifty Centers,” paper presented at the 10th Chinese Internet Research Conference, Los Angeles, May 22, 2012.
21. Jingrong Tong, Investigative Journalism in China: Journalism, Power, and Society (Continuum: 2012), 64.
23. “How Officials Can Spin the Media.”
24. Wang Junshen, “Shehui.”
25. Nuo Diya, “Zoujin waijiaobu yu guanyuan duihua: liangge danao de fayanren,” Nanfang dushibao, December 26, 2012, http://business.sohu.com/20131226/n392426223.shtml.
26. “Minyi zhuli Zhongguo waijiao chuji,” Xinhua News, November 9, 2010, http://news.xinhuanet.com/herald/2010-11/09/c_13597877.htm.
29. Li Kaicheng, “Zhongguo waijiao yao shanyong wangluo yulun.”
30. Chao Fangming, Zhongguoren de guoji xianxiang (Beijing: Xinhua chubanshe, 2012).
31. Andrew Kipnis, “Suzhi: A Keyword Approach,” The China Quarterly, no. 186 (2006): 295-313
32. Andrew Kipnis, “Suzhi.”
33. Chen Jian, “Waijiao zhengce bu neng bei ‘mingyi’ zuoyou,” Huanqiu shibao, February 11, 2014, http://opinion.huanqiu.com/opinion_world/2014-02/4819035.html.
34. “Minyi zhuli Zhongguo waijiao chuji,” Guoji xianqu daobao, September 11, 2010, http://news.xinhuanet.com/herald/2010-11/09/c_13597877.htm.
35. “How Chinese Party-State Controls Critical Reporting: The Bottom-Up Perspective,” paper presented at 2013 Oxford China Conference, St Antony’s College, May 11, 2013.
36. “Minyi zhuli Zhongguo waijiao chuji.”
37. “Junji qianwang diaoyu dao fuhe Zhongguo zhuliu minyi,” Huanqiu shibao, January 11, 2013, http://opinion.huanqiu.com/editorial/2013-01/3472366.html.
38. “Mei ‘juebu ezhi Zhongguo’ zhide huanying he guancha,” Huanqiu shibao, February 15, 2014, http://www.guancha.cn/HuanQiuShiBao/2014_02_15_206130.shtml.
39. Wang Cungang, “Dangdai Zhongguo de waijiao zhengce.”
40. Zhang Qingmin, “Zhongguo duiwai guanxi de guonei guanli he guowai tongchou.”
41. Li Kaicheng, “Zhongguo waijiao yao shanyong wangluo yulun.”
42. Gary King, Jennifer Pan, and Margaret E. Roberts, “How Censorship in China Allows Government Criticism but Silences Collective Expression,” American Political Science Review 107, no. 2 (2013): 1-18.