Constructing patriotic networked publics : conservative YouTube influencers in Hong Kong

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 21 - Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

2 Scopus Citations
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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)415-430
Journal / PublicationChinese Journal of Communication
Issue number3
Online published12 Jul 2022
Publication statusPublished - 2022


After the anti-extradition bill movement from summer 2019 until spring 2020, an upsurge in pro-government YouTube channels dramatically transformed the Hong Kong digital sphere. Using social media data and qualitative textual analysis, this commentary article examines the formation of patriotic networked publics by analyzing their participants, environments, and discursive practices in post-crisis Hong Kong. While the digital space in Hong Kong remains largely heterogeneous, the emergence of pro-government YouTube influencers has not only reshaped but also arguably reinforced the fragmented and polarized media landscape in Hong Kong. These influencers often utilize a mixture of nationalistic, conservative, and populist orientations, allowing them to demonstrate regime allegiance, advocate law and order, and frame themselves as the voice of the people through the strategic use of journalistic language. Parallel to the content providers of the alternative media outlets of the pro-democracy camp, these newer voices identified a niche and capitalized on the opportunity for fame. Their intervention unsettles the existing dynamics of the mediated public sphere, which has long been dominated by professional journalism and liberal discourse.

Research Area(s)

  • Hong Kong, networked publics, populism, public sphere, social media influencers, YouTube