Breaking Invisible Structures: Youth Politics of Resistance in the Rise of China

Conference: AAS-in-Asia2020 (AAS-in-Asia2020)
Title: Breaking Invisible Structures: Youth Politics of Resistance in the Rise of China
Stream: Communications
Presentation Type: Panel Presentation
Zhi Lee, Communication University of China, China (organizer, chair, presenter)
Xi Wang, The University of Chicago, United States (presenter)
Da Wang, Tsinghua University, China (presenter, chair)
Siyan Tse, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong (presenter, discussant)


In the dramatic shift toward modernity and politics, people from Asia today have been seeking to deconstruct existing power structures and reconstruct their identities embedded in the global order. As a rising entity, China gives young people both opportunities and constraints under its economic development and political suppression. This panel seeks to explore the plural and unconventional practices of young people against existing power structures in contemporary Chinese society across time and space. Four topics will be discussed by scholars with different disciplinary backgrounds, academic stages, and regional focuses. Firstly, during the outbreak of coronavirus, youngers from the mainland protest harshly against the official discourse, destroying established values while reconstructing their new beliefs through online resistance. Secondly, faced with the government's oppression against workers, today’s leftwing students fight against Chinese Communist Party by CCP discourse, revealing China’s propaganda mechanism through a gap from the CCP discourse in the 1920s and 1930s. Thirdly, using the documentary film with Mainland China's mainstream ideology as a target, Taiwanese young netizens attempt to break the existing ethical norms of cross-strait relations and dominated culture. Finally, immersing in the neo-liberalist context, young grassroots in Canton City near Hong Kong experiment with living under the clash of modernity and capitalism by creating an innovative model of relation and space. The goal of the panel is not only to understand the resistant power of young people from Asia, but also to bring up variations under the regional and national tag by examining and revealing dynamics and contingencies.