Patriotic Rhetoric in Chinese Public Spaces


Author: Pawel Zygadlo, Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, Suzhou, China

Email: [email protected]
Published: October 16, 2017

Citation: Zygadlo, P. (2017). Patriotic Rhetoric in Chinese Public Spaces. IAFOR Journal of Cultural Studies, 2(2).


This paper begins with the analysis of the socio-cultural phenomenon known as “public space.” This analysis is followed by the reflection on distinctive features of public space in contemporary China. Subsequently, I focus on the use of public space by Chinese authorities for spreading official political and ideological discourse. For this purpose, I analyse the form and content of messages displayed in places of public utility. I conclude by showing what, how and why these are being displayed and widely promoted by the authorities. I argue that public space in China, on the one hand, is “public” in the sense that it is accessible and used by citizens; on the other, it is “arrested by authorities” and used for their socio-political and ideological purposes. Such an arrangement is a statement of the unvocalised agreement between the authorities and citizens that allows the former to avoid major conflicts with the latter and legitimise political power. In return, the latter enjoy a wide range of socio-cultural freedom and are being provided with psychological comfort resulting from identification with a greater endeavour of restoring the glory of the Chinese nation.


Chinese rhetoric, Chinese nationalism, ideology, Chinese values, socio-political slogans