Han CHONG (University of Western Sydney), Struggles for social belonging on weibo:Chinese overseas students’ accounts of their experiences in Australia, English/27 pages, June 2014.

Abstract

This paper investigates the expression of stance in weibo writing. It applies Du Bois’s (2007) definition of stance to analyse how Chinese overseas students in Australia use weibo to report and discuss their unpleasant and even traumatic experiences. I argue that weibo provides a space where a strong affective stance of fear and fury on self-reported incidents of violence is manifested through linguistic strategies of categorization, the recurring topi of danger, flaming and nationalistic rhetoric. Weibo-enabled functions such as repost, @users, metacomment and emoticons facilitate and accelerate the recurrence and circulation of this sentiment. Within the limited space of weibo, huge public pressures are generated on authorities in Australia, compelling them to respond to the incidents with a resolution. Using a hysterical-shouting style of tucao (i.e. complain something in a self-mockery manner), weibo users also form a discourse of resistance, challenging the stereotypical perception of overseas students as ‘born rich’ and their overseas life as prestigious and relaxing. The expression of stance in weibo writing reveals that overseas students suffer from an identity crisis and are yet to form a distinct group identity.