Social Media and Collective Remembrance: The debate over China’s Great Famine on weibo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


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.


External organisations
  • University of Copenhagen
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Communication Studies
  • Media Studies
  • Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)


  • weibo, China, alternative narrative, collective memory, social media, the Great Famine
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-48
JournalChina Perspectives
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Publication categoryResearch

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2015 Jun 23

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2014 Jul 22

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