The Emergence of Sina Weibo and Its relationship to Policy-Making in the People’s Republic of China

Open Access
He, Richard X
Area of Honors:
Bachelor of Arts
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Flynt L Leverett, Thesis Supervisor
  • Shuang Shen, Honors Advisor
  • China
  • Social Media
  • Policy
ABSTRACT This thesis studies the rise of social media platforms in the People’s Republic of China, with particular attention paid to Sina Weibo, China’s leading social media platform, and its relationship to the policy-making process. With roughly 500 million users, Weibo connects one of the world’s largest Internet populations. It represents not only a significant new virtual community in China, but also a social force on the rise in a country where state control of information is central to maintaining government power. This study aims to explore different aspects of the relationship between Sina Weibo and the government with consideration to what degree is Sina Weibo shaping policy-making in China. Presented in this study are specific case studies highlighting socio-political problems in the form of an analysis of trending topics on Sina weibo. To further support this research, the study will also feature Dr. Guobin Yang’s work The Power of the Internet in China: Citizen Activism Online and Evegeny Morozov’s The Net Delusion, “Citizen Activism” and “Cyber-Utopianism” as part of this thesis.