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Strong Society, Smart StateThe Rise of Public Opinion in China's Japan Policy$
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James Reilly

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780231158060

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231158060.001.0001

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The Origins of Public Mobilization

The Origins of Public Mobilization

(p.99) 3 The Origins of Public Mobilization
Strong Society, Smart State

James Reilly

Columbia University Press

This chapter examines the origins of public mobilization against Japan in the early 2000s. It looks into the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) methods in shaping trends in activism, popular media, and public opinion—the three elements in a wave of public mobilization. The wave of public mobilization arose from complex interactions among social actors, external forces, and the state. Decades of official propaganda contributed to popular animosity toward Japan, while state tolerance allowed initial instances of activism and sensational media stories to emerge unchecked. The state's role, however, was primarily indirect and passive. The chapter describes how the activists and journalists seized the increasing tensions against Japan provided by official tolerance to engage in innovative protest strategies and to spotlight sensationalist issues in China–Japan relations. These demonstrations show how a dynamic and engaged society can coexist with a nondemocratic regime, creating pressures for policy change without threatening regime overthrow.

Keywords:   public mobilization, Chinese Communist Party, activism, popular media, public opinion, propaganda, animosity, China–Japan relations

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