This pilot paper addresses the emerging phenomenon of the political cartoon in the Chinese social media. The central claim made is that as a bottom-up, critical voice these cartoons have now entered the fledgling Chinese public sphere by having attracted the attention of netizens and so begun to play an important role in the emergence of critical discourse in China. The paper argues its case as follows. The Introduction embeds the argument on political cartoons in my ongoing research. In the main body of the paper I supplement a working definition of political cartoons with an emphasis on their enunciative modalities. A brief historical overview then leads to the discussion of a series of current bottom-up, critical cartoons in today's China. The main surfaces of emergence of this type of cartoon are argued to be the social media, especially the Internet and weibo, a Chinese version of Twitter. By way of conclusion I identify a number of salient features reiterating the paper's central calims.
|Keywords:||Chinese political cartoons, Social media, Critical discourse, Weibo, China|
Research Fellow, School of Governance and Management, Murdoch University, Perth, Western Australia, Australia