Special Talk on China’s New Cultural Entrepreneurs and the Digital Media

The East Asia Study Center organized a Special Talk titled, ‘China’s New Cultural Entrepreneurs and the Digital Media’. It took place at the Center for Genocide Studies of University of Dhaka on 16 April 2018. It was attended by faculty members of different Departments of University of Dhaka and Researchers of the Center. Professor Daria Berg, DPhil (Oxon), Ordinaria, Chair and Professor of Chinese Culture and Society, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of St. Gallen, Switzerland, was the key speaker. Dr. Delwar Hossain, Founder Director of the East Asia Study Center and Professor of Department of International Relations of University of Dhaka, chaired the talk and Dr. Amena Mohsin, Professor from the same department made special remarks.

2

 

In the opening remarks Dr. Hossain welcomed the audience and emphasized on the depth of the topic to understand China, its cultural influence and global economic domination. He mentioned the example of few ethnic Chinese people who are dominating in the business areas of Philippines and Indonesia which is an interesting matter to understand its cultural and economic influence.

1

On her deliberation Professor Berg opined that the cultural change in post-socialist China’s cities took place due to consumer revolution. Consumer revolution means rise of creative industries, rise of Internet, 772 million netizens, and influx of globalizing popular culture like Japanese fiction & manga, US TV shows etc. In China, blogging is the most popular way of social communication and its popularity is on the rise. Blogging is also used for social tool of expressing and protesting about inequality, criticizing government affairs, though not directly. However, the blogs are being censored by the government, she noted. The Chinese cultural entrepreneurs are active in commercialization and production of culture and entertainment, at the same time they comment on the societal system through blogging, writing, creative art, video clips etc. Dr. Berg put three case studies of China’s new cultural entrepreneurs who are Han Han, novelist cum blogger, Anni Baby, Internet writer & print author and multi-media artists Cao Fei. These cultural entrepreneurs are all linked with consumption. They avoid direct confrontation with authorities by social satire, irony and new utopias.

3

Following her deliberation, audience asked several questions. In response to those questions she mentioned, however, China’s authority now promoting nationalism instead of communism, the blogging and literature of cultural entrepreneurs in China has great influence on the society. Chinese people don’t want any more revolution or bloodshed but they really want to enjoy freedom of speech. She thinks in some cases world can learn from cultural entrepreneurs in China and the use of digital media. At the end Professor Mohsin delivered vote of thanks on behalf of the East Asia Study Centre.