All Abstracts > News via WeChat for Chinese Speakers in Brazil: Towards Integration with the PRC Information Environment
News via WeChat for Chinese Speakers in Brazil: Towards Integration with the PRC Information Environment
Author | Affiliation:
Josh Stenberg | Sydney University
3C | WeChat and Chinese diaspora
This paper considers how WeChat operates as a news platform for Chinese speakers in Brazil, arguing that the increasing use of WeChat in Brazil continues a trend, already perceptible in the narrowing of print politicaldiversity over the last two decades, to integrate diasporic Chinese-language readers into PRC information environments. Since the Brazilian community has attracted little research and since the related work is mostly available in Portuguese and Chinese rather than in English, this chapter briefly introduces the history of the ethnic Chinese communities of Brazil and the moment of Chinese-Brazil diplomatic relations in which the case study plays out. Then, the case study considers the various debates and conflicts in Chinese-Brazilian relations as they were reported in three WeChat “public accounts”: two of them associated with Brazil-based Chinese-language websites (a ‘national’ one with a Sao Paulo base; and a Rio de Janeiro one, which serves the second-largest Chinese community there), and one of the largest Chinese-language print newspapers, Nanmei Qiaobao.
The paper argues that WeChat use increasingly integrates PRC-originating migrants into the same information environment as exists in the PRC. Other media, featuring information and narratives more critical or outright hostile of the PRC, is accessible in both Chinese and Portuguese in both online and print forms, but the option closes to hand to the majority of Chinese arrivals, adopted by those who are not extraordinarily motivated to search for other sources for news information, will be to inform themselves about the Brazilian situation through WeChat media that are both approved of, and closely integrated and interlinked with, the PRC media environment. Where migration from the PRC until recently entailed a substantial variation in media diet, the dominance of WeChat substantially diminishes this variation.
About the author
Josh Stenberg is a Senior Lecturer in Chinese Studies. The author of Minority Stages: Sino-Indonesian Performance and Public Display (U of Hawai’i Press, 2019), his research focuses on Chinese-language transnational culture, including theatre and literature.