Authors: Hang Yin
Abstract: This article investigates how online homeland media influences the identity construction of Chinese migrant netizens. While ethnic media has been researched extensively, the other dimension of the Chinese-language Cyberspace – online homeland media – has become increasingly relevant in the investigation of migrant identity construction. Combining the analyses of interview data and online texts from a New Zealand case, this research argues that online homeland media is a potent factor in the construction of migrant identity and deserves proper academic attention. Online homeland media, given its mainstream status in the home country, helps to sustain the identity of being Chinese among diasporic netizens by merging them into the mainstream identity narratives. It provides an “authentic” Chinese cultural reservoir to migrant netizens which reinforces the sense of being Chinese. Migrant netizens are also caught in the political agenda and frames set by China’s mainstream online media. What is more, the emerging China-based SNS platforms have been able to establish strong connection between migrant netizens and the homeland. As such, online homeland media helps to maintain and reinforce a sense of being “authentic” Chinese among migrant netizens.
Keywords: cyberspace; internet; homeland media; ethnic media; immigrant; identity