Media Politics in China: Improvising Power Under Authoritarianism

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Friday, March 16th, 2018

Friday, March 16, 20182:00PM - 3:30PM208N, North House, 1 Devonshire Place
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Who watches over the party-state? In this engaging analysis, Maria Repnikova reveals the webs of an uneasy partnership between critical journalists and the state in China. More than merely a passive mouthpiece or a dissident voice, the media in China also plays a critical oversight role, one more frequently associated with liberal democracies than with authoritarian systems. Chinese central officials cautiously endorse media supervision as a feedback mechanism, as journalists carve out space for critical reporting by positioning themselves as aiding the agenda of the central state. Drawing on rare access in the field, Media Politics in China examines the process of guarded improvisation that has defined this volatile partnership over the past decade on a routine basis and in the aftermath of major crisis events. Combined with a comparative analysis of media politics in the Soviet Union and contemporary Russia, the book highlights the distinctiveness of Chinese journalist-state relations, as well as the renewed pressures facing them in the Xi era.
The book will be available for sale at the venue.


Maria Repnikova is a scholar of political communication in illiberal contexts, with a focus on Chinese media politics. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Global Communication and a Director of the Center for Global Information Studies at Georgia State University. Maria’s work examines critical journalism, political propaganda, cyber nationalism, and global media branding in China, drawing some comparisons to Russia. Her work appeared in the China Quarterly, New Media & Society, Journal of Contemporary China, as well as in Foreign Affairs andForeign Policy, amongst other venues. Her book, Media Politics in China: Improvising Power Under Authoritarianism, is just out with Cambridge University Press. In the past, Maria was a post-doctoral fellow at the Annenberg School for Communication. Maria holds a PhD in Politics from Oxford University, where she was a Rhodes Scholar.


Mayumi Yamaguchi
(416) 946-8996


Ruoyun Bai
Associate Professor and Program Director, Department of Arts, Culture and Media, University of Toronto

Lynette Ong
Associate Professor, Department of Political Science and Asian Institute

Maria Repnikova
Assistant Professor, Global Communication, Georgia State University


East Asian Seminar Series at the Asian Institute

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