The feedback I received, both in-class and outside of class, was incredibly useful in narrowing down my research topic and reorganizing my research proposal. For example, during the proposal peer review, many of my classmates noted that the way I concealed information about the true meaning of the characters “占占占占人 占占占点 占占点占 占点占占 点占占占 灬占占占占” until the concluding paragraph was potentially confusing for many readers. Instead, they found that it would be more effective if I revealed the truth at the beginning before delving into the history of freedom of speech and Internet censorship in China, so as not to leave the audience guessing.
Furthermore, I reorganized the way I introduced background information in my proposal after hearing positive feedback about the way I formatted the statistics and facts on my Genre Modes infographic. As you can see on the first few panels of the infographic, appealing to logos by including indisputable facts about the scope of the issue at the beginning of the page demands the audience’s attention and immediately creates a framework to structure future arguments. From the concrete statistics about Chinese internet usage to the abstract concepts of wordplay, parody, and collective action, I am able to craft the narrative of internal subversion by setting the stage properly with adequate information and context.
I was also inspired by the comments on both my research proposal and Genre Modes presentation to research more about subtle character slang that Chinese people use to subvert the censorship system. For example, 大裤衩 (dà kùchǎ) or “Big Boxer Shorts” is the internet nickname for the China Central Television building in Beijing, because of its stunning similarity
- 喝茶 (hē chá) or “to drink tea” is code for a police interrogation, in which police would use bribes or coercion (tea) to get people to confess.
There are many, many more amusing examples to be found online, and I’m so delighted to start exploring them.
In conclusion, I’d like to reframe my research question and start working towards a possible thesis for my RBA:
To what extent and through which methods can Chinese citizens subvert censorship and mobilize activism in modern Communist China?
I’ll be looking at examples, both past and ongoing, from internet archives and reading (extensive) literature on the growth of videos, memes, internet slang, and sublanguage to answer the research question. Let me know if you have any suggestions or ideas!