In this Refinery 29 podcast, host Elisa Kreisinger speaks with An Xiao Mina about how internet memes and social movements are intertwined in China.
Topics cover include:
How the #MeToo movement tripped up trying to cross the Great Firewall only to emerge as a series of cute homonymic emojis: 🍚🐰 (rice bunny)
How An’s career in meme research began at artist Ai Weiwei’s studio in 2011 after his arrest as folks tried to express solidarity online without alerting censors
The power of humor to defang those in power but also how the infamous grass mud horse meme was co-opted and defanged by the authorities and their allies in China by transforming into a cute and harmless animal mascot
How social credit deductions is a much more effective albeit indirect way of stemming the proliferation of political memes