In the Shadow of State Power: Citizenship Rights, Civil Society, and Media Representation in China, 2000–2012

Stephanie Na Liu, Tsan-Kuo Chang


Using citizenship rights as the locus of research, this study examines the coexistence between the state and civil society in China by focusing on how the party and market media represented the issue between 2000 and 2012. Media representation of citizenship rights was scrutinized in connection to Internet development, economic growth, status of social conflict, and expansion of civil society organizations. Both comparative content analysis and extramedia data analysis show that the party newspaper incorporated citizenship rights into the political and economic arenas, conforming to the logic of performance legitimacy of the party-state. The market newspaper contextualized rights issues mainly in the field of civil society and correlated with status of social conflict and inequality. As such, there was a dialogical and contextual coexistence between the state and the civil society in China.


citizenship rights, state power, civil society, coexistence, social power

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