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“I Feel Affronted by His Smile!”: Chinese Netizen Reactions to State-Promoted Star-Making in the Case of Tenzing Tsondu

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DOI: 10.25236/ieesasm.2022.003


Mingqiu Zheng

Corresponding Author

Mingqiu Zheng


To elucidate how Chinese netizens reacted to the state promotion of the Tibetan young idol (Tenzing Tsondu), this study analyzed 2,000 posts from Zhihu, a biggest question-and-answer website in China. The analysis shows that 1) netizens generated dissidence by poaching the mainstream discourse; 2) netizens imaginarily instrumentalized Tenzing for political use, which were characterized with nationalistic and racist discourse; 3) repulsion to entertainment served as a way to convey civil spirit to resist media hegemony. This article thus contributes to a better understanding of Chinese online dissidence, online political expressions, and the convergence of entertainment and cyber-politics.


Zhihu, Online dissidence, Online political expression, Ethnic minority, Fandom