Political celebrities and elite politics in contemporary China

Publication Type:
Journal Article
China Information, 2016, 30 (1), pp. 58 - 80
Issue Date:
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© 2015, The Author(s) 2015. This article examines the rise of celebrity politics in mainland China. It outlines some typologies of Western celebrity politics and considers whether equivalent forms exist in China. It then examines the rise of Chinese politician celebrities and celebrity involvement in the National People’s Congress and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. An examination of celebrity participation in these forums shows that celebrity politics in China chiefly functions to support government policies, but also reveals a broadening of elite networks and the capacity of those networks to generate public discussion of alternative policies and politics. Rather than supporting claims that celebrity politics is spectacular or theatrical, it demonstrates instead the connections between celebrity and mundane aspects of Chinese governance.
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