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The story of Qi Shi Ma: Online discussion and community engagement in urban China
Unformatted Document Text:  - 3 - Using Habermas’ public sphere as the theoretical framework (1989, 2006), the study did a textual analysis of the online discussions about the car accident. Compared with the newspaper coverage of the same event, the online forum’s potential and limitations as a possible public sphere are discussed. The context This study chose the media based in the City of Hangzhou because the city is economically influential and has well-developed commercial mass media and digital media industries. The city is located at the southern wing of the Yangtze River Delta. Hangzhou is a hub of transportation, economic prosperity and culture in southeast China. By the end of 2010, the total population was 6.8 million. In 2009, Forbes Magazine gave it the title of "Best Commercial City in China Mainland". The city is also renowned for its historic relics and natural beauty, and is an important tourist destination. It was listed as No.1 of Happiest Cities of China (Mainland) in the year of 2009, according to Oriental Outlook (Hangzhou Municipal Government, 2011). In addition to its cultural and economic history, Hangzhou also has a strong media history. Du Shi Kuai Bao Newspaper was first published in 1999. It belongs to the Hangzhou Daily Newspaper Group, which is under the administrative lead of the Communist Party China, Hangzhou Committee. The commercial city newspaper, Du Shi Kuai Bao[name of newspaper], is financially independent from the local Party Committee and supported by local advertisers (Sun, 2006). In 2009, Du Shi Kuai Bao held 60% marketing share among local newspapers in Hangzhou; the daily circulation is 1.49 million (Du Shi Kuai Bao, 2010). Online discussion and community engagement in urban China

Authors: Liu, Zhengjia.
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- 3 -
Using Habermas’ public sphere as the theoretical framework (1989, 2006), the 
study did a textual analysis of the online discussions about the car accident. Compared 
with the newspaper coverage of the same event, the online forum’s potential and 
limitations as a possible public sphere are discussed.
The context
This study chose the media based in the City of Hangzhou because the city is 
economically influential and has well-developed commercial mass media and digital 
media industries. 
The city is located at the southern wing of the Yangtze River Delta. Hangzhou is a 
hub of transportation, economic prosperity and culture in southeast China. By the end of 
2010, the total population was 6.8 million. In 2009, Forbes Magazine gave it the title of 
"Best Commercial City in China Mainland". The city is also renowned for its historic 
relics and natural beauty, and is an important tourist destination. It was listed as No.1 of 
Happiest Cities of China (Mainland) in the year of 2009, according to Oriental Outlook 
(Hangzhou Municipal Government, 2011).
In addition to its cultural and economic history, Hangzhou also has a strong media 
history. Du Shi Kuai Bao Newspaper was first published in 1999. It belongs to the 
Hangzhou Daily Newspaper Group, which is under the administrative lead of the 
Communist Party China, Hangzhou Committee. The commercial city newspaper, Du Shi 
Kuai Bao[name of newspaper], is financially independent from the local Party Committee 
and supported by local advertisers (Sun, 2006). In 2009, Du Shi Kuai Bao held 60% 
marketing share among local newspapers in Hangzhou; the daily circulation is 1.49 
million (Du Shi Kuai Bao, 2010).
Online discussion and community engagement in urban China


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