Past event

Research Event

The Impact of Online Public Opinion(s) on the Chinese Foreign Policy Making Process

Chatham House, London

Asia Programme


Dr Simon Shen, Associate Professor and External Relations Coordinator of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Hong Kong Institute of Education
Chair: Professor Shaun Breslin, Associate Fellow, Asia Programme, Chatham House


By the end of 2008, there were approximately 298 million netizens in China, a number which already surpassed that of the US and ranked China the highest user in the world. The speaker will describe how this new digital platform created by the virtual world allows Chinese netizens to not only express their opinions online but rather than using this opportunity to push for democratization as some expected (and hoped), it is instead nationalism that has become the main online discourse. He will argue that while the study of internet nationalism and its influence on foreign policy remains in a very early stage, there are clear examples of internet nationalism playing important roles in shaping not just wider public opinion, but also government policy towards different parts of the world.

For more information please contact the Asia Programme.