China’s Cinema Watchdogs on the World Wide Web
How Social Networking Sites Weibo and Douban are helping to shape the development of the Chinese film industry
Online communities play an important role in the development of the Chinese film industry in several significant ways. Taking social media as its focus, this article explores three areas of influence; promoting transparency, critiquing and policing. In China, the leaking of private industry documents, such as employment contracts and memos including information about incentives put forth by the State, are shared on social media with the intention of helping to ensure the opacity and integrity of the industry. Furthermore, where State-run media channels in China are heavily censored, film critiques are made possible through less-restricted social media sites such as Douban. Finally, this paper explores the role that users of social media play in policing distributors and cinema chains who are accused of committing box office fraud when Chinese film industry personnel and cinemagoers use social media to call out malfeasance. Thus, this paper contributes to existing research interested in State intervention in the Chinese cinema industry and the consequences of that intervention.