Online fiction writers in China: fame and fragility

All Abstracts > Online fiction writers in China: fame and fragility

Online fiction writers in China: fame and fragility

Author | Affiliation:Anthony Fung | Chinese University of Hong Kong

Presenting at:
3A | Wanghong, Social Media Entertainment and the Social Industries


Writing online fiction is one of the popular cultural participations on digital platform, as well as a job, for youth in China. Various studies of creative labor on platform have suggested the veil of creativity online has given young passionate users a sense of freedom and independence from control but that “creative workers” on platforms are low paid, working under long hours and equally exploited under a capitalist logic. Based on a survey and interviews with these online workers in China, this paper argues that fiction labors online precisely want to divorce from the cultural logic of these capitalist-manipulated platforms. While it is true that most of them are neither well monetarily rewarded nor are they free to express unrestrictedly in words on these online fiction platforms. However, they do find satisfaction beyond the writing in that they are able to lead a different way of lifestyle or a condition of work that goes beyond the structured time, space and relationship with others that are common in traditional and most “creative” occupations in China. As to whether they are able to create, to certain extent they are relatively free to express their personal and social pleasure and frustration, imagination and fantasy, and utopia and ideals by contributing their writings so long as the writings is meant to be fictional, anachronic and even meaningless to the actual reality. 

About the author

Anthony Fung

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Anthony Y.H. Fung is Director of Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies and Director of Global Studies Program at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He is also Professor in the School of Journalism and Communication at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and Professor in the School of Art and Communication at Beijing Normal University at Beijing. His research interests and teaching focus on popular culture and cultural studies, popular music, gender and youth identity, cultural industries and policy, and digital media studies.

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