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Digital Truth-making Among the New Chinese Online Fandom Nationalists

Between Online Popular Culture and Political Participation

Chenyang Song

In recent years, the rise of digital populist and/or nationalist movement and the post-truth phenomenon have affected the political landscapes of many countries, including China. This article focuses on how pop-cultural practices and practices of political participation intertwine in the digital truth-making process of Chinese online “fandom nationalists”. Using over one year of ethnographic mixed-methods data analysis following relevant hashtags and chat groups, I illustrate the truth-making practices of these online users and their clear preference for information with ideological affinities. I argue that the social media affordances allow Chinese online fandom nationalists to create various forms of strong synergies between pop-/fandom-cultural and political practices that provide an ideal ground for the propagation of certain political truths while simultaneously suppressing/hiding the truths of others.