Using social networks to study the political culture of modern China

Using social networks to study the political culture of modern China

Bocharova A. P.,

MGIMO University; HSE University, Moscow, Russia,

elibrary_id: 1166779 | ORCID: 0000-0002-2167-8342 |

Lukin A.V.,

MGIMO University; HSE University, Moscow, Russia,

elibrary_id: 696524 | ORCID: 0000-0002-1962-2892 | RESEARCHER_ID: L-4986-2015

Perminova A. A.,

Institute of China and Contemporary Asia of the Russian Academy of Sciences; HSE University, Moscow, Russia,

elibrary_id: 1166307 | ORCID: 0000-0002-0187-7635 |

Puzanova O. V.,

MGIMO University; HSE University, Moscow, Russia,

elibrary_id: 855568 | ORCID: 0000-0002-2200-2686 | RESEARCHER_ID: F-1808-2016

Article received: 2023.10.23. Accepted: 2024.01.21

DOI: 10.17976/jpps/2024.03.07

For citation:

Bocharova A. P., Lukin A.V., Perminova A. A., Puzanova O. V. Using social networks to study the political culture of modern China. – Polis. Political Studies. 2024. No. 3. P. 92-108. (In Russ.). EDN: ETTAVA

The study was supported by MGIMO University, project no. 2025-04-03.


The article systematizes the main approaches adopted by a group of researchers from MGIMO University, HSE University and the Institute of China and Modern Asia of the Russian Academy of Sciences, united within the framework of the ”Moscow Project for the Study of Chinese Political Culture”, to investigate the political culture of modern China through the monitoring of social networks. The authors analyze the existing ideas about political culture in the Chinese academic discourse, identify problems in studying the political views of Chinese citizens by traditional sociological methods (surveys, questionnaires). They further explain the relevance of using social network analysis in modern studies of Chinese society, and also describe the methodology they developed for studying social networks using sentiment analysis. The article lays the theoretical and methodological basis for further research on modern Chinese society based on an array of data from Chinese social networks.

Chinese political culture, Internet public opinion, social network analysis, natural language processing, sentiment analysis, neural networks.


Almond, G.A., & Verba, S. (1963). The civic culture: political attitudes and democracy in five nations. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Barbera, P., & Rivero, G. (2015). Understanding the political representativeness of Twitter users. Social Science Computer Review. 33(6), 712-729.

Barbera, P., & Steinert-Threlkeld, Z.C. (2020). How to use social media data for political science research. In The Sage Handbook of Research Methods in Political Science and International Relations (pp. 404-423). London: Sage.

Bing, M., & Brown, G. (2017). Conducting online surveys in China. Social Science Computer Review, 36(6), 721-734.

Bisbee, J., & Larson, J. M. (2017). Testing social science network theories with online network data: an evaluation of external validity. American Political Science Review, 111(3), 502-521.

Brown, A., & Gray, J. (1979). Political culture and political change in communist states. London; Basingstoke: The Macmillan Press.

Chae J., Thom D., Jang Y., Kim S., Ertl T., & Ebert D. S. (2014). Public behavior response analysis in disaster events utilizing visual analytics of microblog data. Computers & Graphics, 38, 51-60.

Chang, H.T., & Tsai, F.C. (2022). A systematic review of Internet public opinion manipulation. Procedia Computer Science, 207, 3159-3166.

Cunningham, E., Saich, T., & Turiel, J. (2020). Understanding CCP resilience: surveying Chinese public opinion through time. Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, Harvard Kennedy School, 18.

Devlin, J., Chang, M. W., Lee, K., & Toutanova, K. (2018). BERT: pre-training of deep bidirectional transformers for language understanding. arXiv preprint arXiv:1810.04805.

Fang, C. (2022). Sentiment analysis of Weibo comments based on LDA model. Highlights in Science, Engineering and Technology, 24(1), 45-48.

Fei, H. (2021). Political culture of transforming countries: the experience of China in the past 40 years since reform and opening up. Outlines of Global Transformations: Politics, Economics, Law, 14(2), 48-65.

Gallagher, M., & Miller, B. (2021). Who not what: the logic of China's information control strategy. The China Quarterly, 248(1), 1011-1036.

Gorer, G., & Rickman, J. (1949). The people of Great Russia: a psychological study. London: Cresset Press.

Grimmer, J., & Stewart, B.M. (2013). Text as data: the promise and pitfalls of automatic content analysis methods for political texts. Political Analysis, 21, 267-297.

Inglehart, R., & Welzel, C. (2005). Modernization, cultural change and democracy. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Jia, L. (2019). What public and whose opinion? A study of Chinese online public opinion analysis. Communication and the Public, 4(1), 21-34.

Jiang, Z., & Gao, X. (2023). Text mining and quantitative evaluation of China's green consumption policies based on green consumption objects. Environment, Development and Sustainability, 26(1), 6601-6622.

King, G., Pan, J., & Roberts, M.E. (2013). How censorship in China allows government criticism but silences collective expression. American Political Science Review, 107(2), 326-343.

Klingemann, H.-D., Fuchs, D., & Zielonka, J. (Eds.) (2006). Democracy and political culture in Eastern Europe. New York: Routledge.

Lee, H. (2012). Public opinion in China. The University of Sydney China Studies Centre Policy Paper Series, 1, 5-10.

Levenson, J.R. (1965). Confucian China and its modern fate: a trilogy. Book 1. Berkeley; Los Angeles: University of California Press.

Lu, Ch., & Yan, T. (2022). Revisiting Chinese political culture: the historical politics approach. Chinese Political Science Review, 7(1), 160-180.

Luo, Y. (2014). The Internet and agenda setting in China: the influence of online public opinion on media coverage and government policy. International Journal of Communication, 8, 1289-1312.

Manion, M. (1994). Survey research in China: learning from local samples. The China Quarterly, 129(1), 721-734.

Mazzocco, I., & Kennedy, S. (2022). Public opinion in China: a silent liberal majority. CSIS, 09.02.

Moody, P.R. (1994). Trends in the study of Chinese political culture. The China Quarterly, 139, 731-740.

Nathan, A.J., & Shi, T. (1994). Cultural requisites for democracy in China. In Tu Wei-ming (Ed.), China in Transformation. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Neuman, W.R., Guggenheim, L., Jang, S.A., & Bae, S.Y. (2014). The dynamics of public attention: agenda-setting theory meets big data. Journal of Communication. 64(2),193-214.

Pan, J., & Xu, Y. (2018). China's ideological spectrum. The Journal of Politics, 80(1), 254-273.

 Peng, H., Cambria, E., & Hussain, A. (2017). A review of sentiment analysis research in Chinese language. Cognitive Computation. 9, 423-435.

Perry, E.J. (1994). Introduction. In J.N. Wasserstorm, & E.J. Perry (Ed.), Popular Protest and Political Culture in Modern China (pp. 1-14). Boulder: Westview Press.

Pye, L.W. (1992). The spirit of Chinese politics. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Richard, P., & Booth, J.A. (2014). Latin American political culture: public opinion and democracy. Washington: CQ Press.

Schwartz, B.I. (1985). The world of thought in ancient China. Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.

Shambaugh, D. (2023). The evolution of American contemporary China studies: Coming full circle? Journal of Contemporary China, 33(146), 314-331.

Stukal, D., Sanovich, S., Bonneau, R., & Tucker, J.A. (2022). Why botter: how pro-government bots fight opposition in Russia. American Political Science Review, 116(3), 843-857.

Wang, L., & Wang, L. (2023). A case study of Chinese sentiment analysis on social media reviews based on LSTM. SHS Web Conf, 157.

Wang, Z., & Ye, X. (2018). Social media analytics for natural disaster management. /nternational Journal of Geographical /nformation Science, 32(1), 49-72.

Yao, G. (2022). Deep learning-based text sentiment analysis in Chinese international promotion. Security and Communication Networks, 1, 1-10.

Ye, X., Li, S., Yang, X., & Qin, C. (2016). Use of social media for the detection and analysis of infectious diseases in China. /SPRS /nternational Journal of Geo-/nformation, 5(9), 156.

Zhang, L., Wang, S., & Liu, B. (2018). Deep learning for sentiment analysis: а survey. Wiley /nterdisciplinary Reviews: Data Mining and Knowledge Discovery. 8(4), 12-53.

Bai, Y. (1985). Ugly Chinese. Taipei: Lin Bai Publishing House. (In Chin.)

Chen, Y., & Wang J. (2014). Contemporary Chinese political culture theory. Hefei: Anhui People's Publishing House. (In Chin.)

Gao, F. (2008). Political and cultural changes and the evolution of Sino-Russian relations. Beijing: World Knowledge Press. (In Chin.)

Hu, R. (2007). Farmers' petitions and the loss of political trust. Sociological Research, 3, 39-55. (In Chin.).

Lu, Ch. (2023). The modernization and transformation of Chinese political culture and its dual dynamic mechanism. Journal of the Central Academy of Socialism, 3, 20-34. (In Chin.)

Qian, L. (2020). Bringing political culture back: the enlightenment of cultural sociology. Sociological Research, 3, 219-241. (In Chin.)

Sun, L. (1983). The deep structure of Chinese culture. Hong Kong: Yishan Publishing House. (In Chin.)

Yu, C. (2009). The construction of socialism with Chinese characteristics and political culture. Beijing: Intellectual Property Press. (In Chin.)

Zhong, W., & Luo B. (2020). Public policy and its response: Interpretation based on the trust mechanism of farmers—taking the agricultural land confirmation policy as an example. Rural China Observation, 1, 1-18. (In Chin.)

Kulikov, V.S. (1989). Kitajcy o sebe [The Chinese about themselves]. Moscow: Politizdat. (In Russ.)

Levashov, V.K. (2020). Politicheskaya kul'tura Rossijskogo obshchestva. Opyt sociologicheskogo issledovaniya [The political culture of Russian society. The experience of sociological research]. Moscow: FCTAS RAS. (In Russ.)

Lu, X. (2000). Fifty years of sociology in new China. In Yearbook of Chinese Sociology (1995-1998) (pp. 37-84). Beijing: Social Science Literature Press. (In Russ.)

Lukin, A.V. (2016). Rossiya na rubezhe vekov. Raboty po politologii i rossijskoj politike [Russia at the turn of the century. Works on political science and Russian politics]. Moscow: Ves mir. (In Russ.)

Lukin, A.V. (2005). Nevezhestvo protiv nespravedlivosti. Politicheskaya kul'tura rossijskih “demokratov” (1985-1991) [Ignorance versus injustice. The political culture of the Russian “democrats” (1985-1991)]. Moscow: Nauchnaya Kniga. (In Russ.)

Lukin, A.V. (2007). Medved’ nablyudaet za drakonom. Obraz Kitaya v Rossii v XVII-XXI vekah [The bear is watching the dragon. The image of China in Russia in the XVII-XXI centuries.] Moscow: Vostok-Zapad. (In Russ.)

Lukin, A.V. (2023). He concepts of sinification of Marxism, a new form of human civilization and civilization-state in modern Chinese ideological discourse. Russian Sinology, 1(2), 71-99. (In Russ.)

Vasiliev, L.S. (1976). Some features of the system of thinking, behavior and psychology in traditional China. China: Traditions and Modernity. Moscow: Nauka. (In Russ.)

Veselova, L.S., Deryugin, P.P., & Lebedintseva, L.A. (2018). Vectors of Chinese Sociology Becoming: Pragmatic Orientation and Maintaining of Tradition. Sociological Studies, 7, 124-134. (In Russ.) https://doi. org/10.31857/S013216250000169-8  

Content No. 3, 2024

See also:

Bezvikonnaya Ye.V.,
Systemico-Synergetic Model of a Political System. – Polis. Political Studies. 2009. No3

Popova O.V., Grishin N.V., Pogodina M.Ya.,
Communication of youth with the highest officials of the subjects of the Russian Federation on the social network “VKontakte” in 2022. – Polis. Political Studies. 2023. No4

Satarov G.A.,
Trust as an Object of Political Sociology. Part I. – Polis. Political Studies. 2016. No1

Satarov G.A.,
Trust as an Object of Political Sociology. Part II. – Polis. Political Studies. 2016. No2

Tikhonova S.V.,
Social Networks: Problems of Internet Socialization. – Polis. Political Studies. 2016. No3



Introducing an article

Polis. Political Studies
5 2019

Kozyreva P.M., Smirnov A.I.
Trust in Unstable Russian Society

 The article text


   2024      2023      2022      2021   
   2020      2019      2018      2017      2016   
   2015      2014      2013      2012      2011   
   2010      2009      2008      2007      2006   
   2005      2004      2003      2002      2001   
   2000      1999      1998      1997      1996   
   1995      1994      1993      1992      1991