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China’s Pundits in Uniform: Military Officers and Guiding Public Opinion

Eric Setzekorn

Abstract


During the past decade, Chinese media commentators have frequently inter­acted with China’s internet population, the so-called netizens (wangmin), in an attempt to guide public opinion. People’s Liberation Army (PLA) officers have been key participants in the media’s discussion of military affairs. This article analyzes three cases of PLA engagement with the Chinese media and suggests that efforts to guide public opinion on military affairs is a sensi­tive and unstable process. PLA attempts to influence Chinese public opinion should be seen as an efficacious but highly risky approach to shaping issue narratives and expanding military influence.


Keywords


Chinese media; Chinese public opinion; military influence; China; netizens ; People's Liberation army

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5744/jpms.2019.1012