Shanzhai media culture: Failed intervention to the disingenuous neoliberal logic of Chinese media

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Contemporary China, 2017, 26 (104), pp. 249 - 262
Issue Date:
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© 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This article studies shanzhai media culture, a specific type of shanzhai culture that copycats the most-watched shows of China Central Television (CCTV) with a sense of satire and play. The article discusses why CCTV has become a popular target of shanzhai, how CCTV’s brand shows are shanzhai-ed and what are the political implications of shanzhaing these established programs. By presenting Lao Meng’s Shanzhai Spring Festival Gala as a case study, the author argues that shanzhai media culture is a creative, participatory and Internet-facilitated grassroots media production, which attempted to resist and intervene in the power–money hegemony of CCTV underpinned by the disingenuous neoliberal logic of Chinese media. However, this culture failed to do so and has been co-opted and reshaped by the powerful logic it attempted to challenge.
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