Advertising Chinese Politics: The Effects of Public Service Announcements in Urban China
53 Pages Posted: 8 Sep 2010 Last revised: 12 Aug 2013
Date Written: August 30, 2010
During the reform era the Chinese state has modernized the way in which campaigns are conducted. Today, the government focuses on public service advertising on television to actively shape people‘s attitudes and behavior on such issues as environmental protection and legal reform. More broadly, public service advertising is aimed at holding together an increasingly diverse and fragmented society.
This paper examines the effects of public service advertising on people’s opinions. Based on experiments we investigate the extent to which public service advertising is effective and why. As the first-ever study concerning the effects of public service advertising in the Chinese media, this paper employs multiple research methods to contribute to the understanding of the relationship between the Chinese state and society. The predominant view in Chinese politics is that reforms since the Mao era have weakened the coercive power of the state. Recently, however, scholars have begun to explore the mechanisms through which the Chinese state has been able to adapt and remake institutional forces for reinforcing national unity and integration. This study contributes to this debate by exploring the role of television propaganda in influencing people’s views and behavior and finds that public service announcements can lead to negative views of the state, unless viewers recognize the messages as a state sponsored form of political communication. In the 21st century, Chinese remain surprisingly supportive of the state’s efforts to guide public opinion through political advertising.
Keywords: Authoritarian Resilience, Political Trust, China, Media Effects, Campaigning, Political Advertising, Corruption, Environmental Protection
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