Xiaojin Chen

Xiaojin Chen


  • 18

Personal profile

Research interests

China Internet studies

  • The usage of the Internet for democratic development in China
  • The unique Internet milieu in mainland China
  • Changing attitudes and habits of Chinese citizens’ Internet use
  • Embodiment in Internet use in China

Social movements and civic participation

  • The formats of civic participation in the digital era
  • Political engagements of mediated citizens
  • Public sphere and social movements
  • Embodiment in social movements

Cultural studies of Chinese media

  • Journalism and communication in China
  • Journalistic professionalism in the Chinese context


Current PhD research:

Working title: From online World to offline World: A Study of the Effects of the Internet on Collective Democratic Action in China

China has the largest number of online consumers in the world today. The friction between free usage and strict government supervision is a defining characteristic of contemporary Chinese Internet culture.

Focusing on the effects of the Internet on collective democratic action in China, I am approaching the research from three angles: the Internet as an information source, the Internet as a potential public sphere, and the Internet as a mobilisation tool to facilitate collective action in relation to democratic practice. Specifically, I will first examine the ways in which the Internet benefits citizens’ information acquisition by offering access to a powerful information source as an alternative to traditional media, despite strict control from the state. Second, I will examine the ways in which Chinese citizens strategically and creatively use the Internet as a public space to participate in political discussion, confronting the prevalent censorship of the online content. Finally, I will examine the formation of online communities and online collective activities, and the dynamics of the shifts from online discussion to collective action in the offline world in which the Internet plays an instrumental role in facilitating the mobilisation. Within the investigation of all these dimensions, special attention will be given to the embodied resonance among citizens in order to understand the cultural meanings citizens give to actions. These dimensions all encompass issues of the nature of the interaction between online communities and the state, and obstacles confronting participatory citizens.

Investigating from these three angles will lay the foundation for understanding issues relating to the formation of an online public sphere in China, the ways collective action is mobilised from online to offline via the facilitation of the Internet, and the mobilisation of embodied experiences in actions both online and offline. All of these issues point to the fundamental question of ‘how does the Internet influence the establishment of a social foundation for democracy in China?’

Biographical details

Both academically and professionally, Xiaojin has been closely involved with Chinese media and modern Chinese culture for the past eight years. Xiaojin holds a Bachelor's degree in Communication from South China Normal University and a Master’s degree in Journalism from Jinan University. Xiaojin has worked as a journalist in China’s South Media Group, writing for Southern People Weekly and assisting in the editing of Southern Weekly. Before commencing her PhD programme at King’s College, Xiaojin worked as a journalist for South Daily Newspaper in which she was responsible for current event reporting, investigative journalism, and feature writing. Xiaojin has also worked part-time at Sun Yat-sen University where she taught the ‘News Interviewing and Writing’ module in the School of Communication and Design.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being


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